Georgia Tech assistant Jeff Monken -- a Joliet native whose cousin Ted is Metea Valley's lead football coach -- has been named head coach at Georgia Southern, which traditionally has been a Football Championship Subdivision power. Click here for background.
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When the ACC raided the Big East a few years ago, it created a ripple effect across the country. It can still be felt in Lincoln Park, where the DePaul hoops program is 0-13 in the rugged Big East. To make matters worse, its next two games are against Pittsburgh and Villanova, which combined are 43-7.
With that in mind - and on a much smaller scale - we looked at the recent rumblings of defections and realignment within the area's conferences. In the same way that Miami football can set off a chain of events that impacts DePaul basketball, the Western Sun's potential movement could force the DuPage Valley and Upstate Eight to make some decisions.
Before we go any further, let's stress that nothing is about to happen. Last week Metea Valley principal Jim Schmid was gracious enough to field our hypothetical questions before a single practice was held at the school, and said the UEC would require some advance notice.
"It's usually at least a year. I know that when DeKalb left, they let us know about a (year-plus) ahead of time. It's usually primarily because of scheduling," Schmid said. "It's certainly ample time where they're able (to) deal with the nuances of primarily the football schedule, (which) is the most challenging one."
Football may not drive everything at every school, but it's a major consideration. Jim Owczarski and Rick Armstrong mapped out some potential scenarios in the Beacon News. What if dominos start falling and, say, a West Chicago leaves the DVC? Or if Geneva spins out and links up with the St. Charles schools? The Glenbard schools aren't all in the same conference - should District 204 stay together?
This is entirely a game of "what-if." But if you were an area athletic director, what would you be looking for to protect your football program's interest?
Paul Johnson has a nice feature up on Ted Monken, Metea Valley's new coach. In five seasons at St. Charles East, Monken has gone 36-17 (.679) with four consecutive playoff appearances. Coaching runs in the Monken family, as Johnson explains:
His father, Bob, is a member of the Illinois High School Coaches Hall of Fame, thanks in large part to his legendary coaching run at Lake Park. He has also been on Ted Monken's staff at St. Charles East all five years.
If that's not enough, Ted's brother, Todd, is the wide receivers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. And his brother, Tony, also has experience starting a program from scratch. He guided Vernon Hills' ascent to varsity football in 1999 and has coached that program ever since.
This nugget is also found near the end of the piece and at the center of what should become a good rivalry:
Monken arrives at Metea familiar with the Upstate Eight Conference, and quite familiar with Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley, the pool from which Metea's talent will be drawn.
Monken went only 1-4 against Neuqua in his five years, two of those losses giving Neuqua an outright conference title and rendering St. Charles East to second place. He did go 3-0 against Waubonsie, however, including wins the past two seasons.
On the news-side today, Tim Waldorf provides a good update on Metea Valley High School, which is progressing in advance of an August target date for the first classes of freshmen and sophomores to arrive. Principal Jim Schmid would tell you that athletics is a piece of a very large puzzle, and several major coaching hires have already been made.
Football coach Ted Monken, an external hire from St. Charles East, is reportedly pending school board approval on Monday. Schmid tells Waldorf that all but three or four coaching positions have been filled. Waldorf also reports that while the Aurora building is starting to look like an actual school, some teams may have to be patient. Waldorf writes:
(P)ortions of the school -- the other two-story classroom wing, as well as music and fine arts facilities, an auxiliary gymnasium and the pool -- won't be complete until about a year from now. And some athletic fields may not be ready for teams to practice or play on them on Day 1.
The Upstate Eight Conference will expand and realign into two six-team divisions beginning in the fall of 2010.
The conference announced the anticipated move on Thursday and it took into account several geographic considerations. Metea Valley, which in scheduled to open in the fall of 2009, will become the conference's new 12th member and join District 204 rivals Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley in the UEC South. The division will also include East Aurora, St. Charles East and St. Charles North.
The UEC North will be made up of Bartlett, Elgin, Lake Park, Larkin, South Elgin and Streamwood.
What's your early take? How will this impact these UEC programs?