On The Fence
Bobby Leach "The Rooster" | 6/9/2015, 9:35 p.m.
The gossip mill was churning late last week that Romeoville head football coach Jeff Kuna had resigned his duties and after making a few calls on Monday I was able to confirm the rumor. To be honest, the news was met personally with a sense of disappointment largely because of my respect for coach Kuna and his staff.
When coach Kuna took over the program seven years ago, the Spartans were in the midst of a 20-year playoff drought and coming off a string of losing seasons. To put it mildly, the program was in need of energy and a direction. When I first met coach Kuna I was impressed with his football knowledge of course but more importantly his ability to reach student athletes with his overpowering optimism. One of his first acts as the new Spartan coach was to make home visits to current and potential players within the school district to sell them on his vision and also to make sure those athletes knew he was working hard for them.
That kind of candor is rare in today's world but his efforts along with his staff were nothing short of fantastic. The program reached the playoffs in two of the seven seasons under his leadership and was absolutely a competitive program in and out of conference play. Covering all the conference teams, I have yet to meet a coach that circled Romeoville on their season schedule as a sure fire win. The program was no longer perceived as an easy win largely because of the never quit effort coach Kuna was able to draw from his team.
In addition to his success on the field, coach Kuna was an educator first and it showed with the number of his players that went on to play at or attend college. Among his players many achievements is one new NFL player in Cameron Stingily who recently signed with the Pittsburg Steelers. Regardless of the win/loss record that so many people point to when grading a coach, the staff lead by Jeff Kuna was absolutely successful in recreating a football program at Romeoville High School.
I spoke with coach Kuna who said that he wanted to spend more time coaching his own son in baseball this summer and was also aiding with additional domestic duties while his wife is recovering from surgery. "I just had to make a decision to put my own family first at this time and be there for them when they need me most," Kuna said in our phone conversation. "I knew I would not be able to approach my coaching duties in the same manner I feel is deserving of the program as I have done in the previous years with personal family concerns needing my attention this summer and realized I had to step down and do what I feel is the right thing at this time. I will miss coaching at Romeoville but I have no regrets turning my attention and time to my son's athletic goals."
Shortly after my discussion with coach Kuna, sources revealed however unconfirmed at this time that Romeoville's new head football coach will be a former player of Romeoville, Notre Dame and NFL'er Oliver Gibson. Stay tuned!