DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) -- Eisenhower's tumultuous football program has taken a turn toward familiarity in hopes of stabilizing its situation.
The Decatur school board approved current athletic director Steve Thompson as the program's new head coach during its meeting Tuesday night.
Thompson has served as athletic director at Eisenhower since the summer of 2017, when he took over for the retiring Greg Collingwood.
He takes over a team that fared 0-9 last season as freshman-through-senior numbers dwindled into the low-20s by the end of the year. Curtis Graham resigned his position after one year at the helm.
Press Release from Decatur Public Schools:
Decatur, IL – The Decatur Public School Board of Education approved the hire and appointment of Steve Thompson as head football coach at Eisenhower High School, effective for the 2019-2020 school year, during the board’s January 8, 2019 open session Board meeting.
Mr. Thompson brings over 16 years of football coaching experience to the Panther’s program. He began his coaching career in 1994 as a freshman coach at Mt. Zion High School while student teaching, then later became the Defensive Coordinator at Romeoville High School in Illinois.
Thompson earned his first head coaching position at Oakland High School in Oakland, Illinois before leaving his coaching duties to become an administrator. In 2010, Thompson returned to the football field at his alma mater in Bement, Illinois then later joined the coaching staff for Decatur’s LSA where he coached for four years.
Coach Thompson shares, “Throughout my playing and coaching career, it has been my good fortune to work with some outstanding coaches and players. I have learned a lot all of them. The best part of the game of football is the relationships that are formed while competing in such a demanding team sport. Our mission at Eisenhower will be to develop quality student athletes and create a positive experience for all involved. We believe that we have a solid plan in place to grow our football program in the coming years.”
Eisenhower Principal Dr. Amy Zahm-Duncheon adds, “We are excited to announce Steve Thompson as the next head football coach at Eisenhower. Our program will benefit from having the familiarity of a current staff member, who students feel comfortable with and will work hard to continue the rich Panther traditions of our past teams. Coach Thompson firmly believes in the work ethic and sportsmanship that is expected of every student athlete and values the virtues of teamwork and good citizenship to serve our district and community.”
Tune into WAND on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to learn more about Thompson's plans for the future.