Eckert resigns as New Richmond varsity football coach
New Richmond varsity football coach Jason Eckert has submitted his resignation from his football post.
Eckert informed the Tiger players of his decision at a team meeting last Tuesday. The resignation will not be finalized until it is approved by the New Richmond Board of Education. It is expected to be on the school board's May 20 agenda.
Eckert became the Tiger football coach for the 2008-09 school year, after serving six years as head coach of the Colfax football team. Eckert's teams amassed a 22-27 record in his five years as Tiger head coach. The Tigers reached the playoffs three times during those five years, recording their only two playoff wins during the 2010 season.
Eckert said he wasn't pressured into making the coaching change. He said an accumulation of "all the frustrations that go into being head coach" was the biggest reason behind his decision. He said his inability to interest more high school athletes into playing football was one of the main reasons behind his decision. The other was the athletes not wanting to follow the training regimens that the football coaches had designed for the athletes to be successful.
"We've got some hard-working kids, there just aren't enough of them," Eckert said. "We still have a small school mentality in football. We've got to get ready for Menomonie, River Falls, Rice Lake. We need to play them in the lower levels."
With the recent vacancy created in the physical education department, Eckert saw the opportunity to tie the football coaching position with a teaching position that could draw top football applicants. School district Director of Human Resources Jeff Moberg said all three teaching vacancies at the high school (physical education, math, tech. ed) will be viewed with an eye toward the district's coaching needs.
"It would be nice if we could attract somebody with experience, that brings instant credibility," Moberg said. "We need to build numbers. Jason brought some good things and moved us in the right direction."
Eckert will continue to teach in his health position at the high school. He said he is also open to coming back as an assistant coach under a new head coach.
"It's not that I'm burnt out," Eckert said. "I just wanted to be relieved of some of those duties. I love doing it. I love the grind of it. But that's also what makes it so hard to keep coaches is the grind of it."
Eckert has been a high school coach for more than half of his lifetime. He was given his first coaching job at the age of 19 by Menomonie coach Joe LaBuda. He's been a coach each of the past 20 years.