Eckert brings passion to NR football programJason Eckert wasn’t actively looking to leave Colfax. He had three football programs in mind that he would ever consider leaving Colfax for: Eau Claire North, Eau Claire Memorial and New Richmond.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Jason Eckert wasn’t actively looking to leave Colfax.
He had three football programs in mind that he would ever consider leaving Colfax for: Eau Claire North, Eau Claire Memorial and New Richmond.
Eckert had built a successful football program, winning the Dunn-St. Croix Conference title in 2006. He played high school ball at Menomonie, when Coach Joe LaBuda was just beginning to turn the Menomonie program into one of the elite programs in the state. Eckert got to experience what it was like to be a state champion when he was an assistant coach for the Indians on their 1995 state championship team. From that point he was sold that he wanted to be a head football coach.
When the New Richmond coaching position came open, Eckert decided it was an opportunity he had to pursue. He rose to the top of the candidate list, and enthusiastically accepted the job when it was offered by New Richmond High School Principal Jeff Moberg.
Eckert was selected from among more than 30 candidates who applied for the coaching position. Eckert has been the head coach at Colfax for the past six seasons, compiling a 26-29 record.
One of Eckert’s biggest accomplishments at Colfax was getting a weight program started and getting the players to understand the importance of a weight program.
“You’ve got to have a weight program and build strength and prevent injuries, and also to build a mentality. It toughens kids up to work together in their weight room,” Eckert said. “That’s the biggest thing we’ve got to do is get the kids in (the weight room). And the head coach has to be in there with them.”
Eckert said he plans to continue to use the platoon system, with players concentrating on either offense or defense. He said there will be times when he’ll go away from platooning to get his best athletes on the field.
Offensively, Eckert plans to run a Jet Sweep style, which is a variation of the Wing-T offense that New Richmond teams have run in the past.
Defensively, Eckert plans to utilize a four-man front system. He will speak with his assistant coaches to decide whether a 4-3 or 4-4 defense will work better against the teams the Tigers will face in the Middle Border Conference.
Eckert spent the past eight years teaching in the Alternative School in Colfax. Moberg said one of the selling points about Eckert was the strong recommendations he received for his work as a teacher from the Colfax school administration. His teaching mentality carries over to the football field.
“At our practices you’ll see a teaching atmosphere,” Eckert said. “We’ll be high intensity, but you’ll see coaches coaching. We won’t yell and scream just to yell and scream.”
Eckert said if there’s an NFL coach that he compares his demeanor to, it would be Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy. Dungy is one of most low-key coaches in the NFL.
Eckert was introduced to members of the community Monday night when he spoke at the New Richmond Kiwanis meeting. One of the points that the School administration wanted in a new coach was someone who will be active and involved in the community.
Eckert grew up in Menomonie, playing four years of high school ball under Menomonie coach Joe LaBuda. After high school Eckert graduated from the University of Minnesota. He continued to serve as an assistant coach at Menomonie while attending college. He then taught and served as an assistant coach at North St. Paul for two years before moving to Colfax.
Eckert will be taking over the open physical education-health teaching position at New Richmond High School. He said getting a teaching position in the area that he studied in college was one of the attractions in coming to New Richmond.
Eckert and his wife, Shannon, have three sons between the ages of 1 and 6. He said he hopes to purchase a home in New Richmond in the upcoming months.