By Brad Spencer
It's baseball season, so let's talk football. The Bulls are in the playoffs, so let's talk football. The Blackhawks barely slipped into the playoffs as well, so let's talk football. Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods — all recent newsmakers, so let's talk football. The NFL is deadlocked, so let's talk local football.
New OPRF football head coach John R. Hoerster has picked his staff. Offensive coordinator duties will go to him, while the defense will be run by a familiar face in Tim Hasso, who has been a coach at the school for quite some time. Hasso is also the brother-in-law of Jim Nudera, who stepped down after 12 seasons as head football coach at OPRF in the fall. Hasso was the defensive coordinator for the Huskies this school year when they finished 2-7 overall and 0-6 in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference.
Another familiar face that will grace the sidelines next season is Al Allen, the former head basketball coach at OPRF. Allen, who suffered a stroke in December but has since recovered, has served as a coach in the football program for several years. He'll continue working with the linemen.
Others on the staff include Jason Kradman (wide receivers), Paul Collins (defensive line), and Todd Black (running backs), also a longtime coach in several capacities at OPRF. Black played for the Bears as a replacement player during the 1987 players strike.
Hoerster picked all the coaches himself.
"They are all outstanding men, with vast football knowledge and tremendous passion for the game," he said.
Hoerster seems reluctant to reveal any possible offensive or defensive styles we might see next fall. "On offense we will focus on playing with confidence and fearlessness, flying around the field, getting the athletes the football and playing as a team," he wrote in an email when the question was broached last week. "On defense, we will focus on playing with confidence and fearlessness, flying to the football, tackling and playing as a team."
Opponents, beware the confidence and fearlessness coming your way.
The former Mount Carmel assistant coach did get specific about his personal life. For the last two years he has lived in Oak Park with his wife Margaret and daughters Maisie Jane, 3, and Claire, 1, along with family pets Otis (dog) and Scout (cat). He's set to complete a master's program at Dominican University by next fall. His sister Regan, who owns Village Pilates, has lived in town for five years.
Hoerster doesn't spend much time watching the NFL, but loves college football, most notably the Dayton Flyers (his alma mater), the Wisconsin Badgers, the Northwestern Wildcats and the Oregon Ducks. "I also root for any team a former player of mine is playing on," he said.
He'd rather sit in the bleachers at Wrigley than U.S. Cellular (who wouldn't?).
"I can't wait for the season to start," said Hoerster, who also calls his new job the best in Illinois.
Excited for football yet? I am.