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DeKALB – After more than eight months without a permanent head coach in place, the DeKalb football team finally has its leader.
The DeKalb School District 428 board approved Matt Weckler as DeKalb’s new football coach at its meeting Tuesday. Weckler also will teach physical education at DeKalb.
“DeKalb is one of those schools – one place I wanted to be,” Weckler said, stating that he has heard good things about the school and the area from others. “(DeKalb) seems like a great place to work, to compete ... to raise a family.”
Weckler coached six seasons at Belvidere, leading the Bucs to a 31-29 record over that span. The Bucs made the IHSA Class 5A playoffs in four of Weckler’s six seasons, advancing as far as the quarterfinals in 2007 before falling to Morris.
Weckler has worked under current DeKalb athletic director Bryon Houy, who was the AD at Belvidere for five years before coming to DeKalb in 2012.
Houy said he worked with a search committee – a group of parents, coaches, and teachers who were “stakeholders” in the program – to pick a new coach. He said he took a step back from the selection process, so as to avoid appearances of favoritism.
Houy praised the selection of Weckler.
“He’s good with kids,” Houy said. “He puts the kids first. That’s what we need.”
Last season Weckler helped Belvidere to a 5-4 record in the regular season before ending the season with a 48-0 loss to Kaneland in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs. The Bucs also fell to Kaneland, 51-45, in the first round of the 2011 playoffs.
Weckler takes over for interim head coach Todd Hallaron, who led DeKalb to a 2-7 record in his only season with the Barbs. Hallaron was named the interim coach prior to last year following the resignation of former coach Marty Sanders in May. Sanders spent three years at DeKalb led the Barbs to their first playoff performance in more than 20 years when DeKalb went 5-5 in 2010.
Weckler said he has seen a lot of film on DeKalb, and he believes the Barbs are hungry for structure and competition. He described himself as being familiar with DeKalb football, stating that he followed them like any other high school football team.
Weckler said his constant goal as a head coach is to win a conference title and get a spot in the playoffs.
“I think that’s a viable goal for us,” Weckler said.
Houy said Weckler was one of eight candidates from three states who were considered for the job. Weckler was interviewed by the committee, and as one of two finalists, by the school administration.
“We sat down with the stakeholders and we had a vision of what we wanted in a head coach,” Houy said. “At the end of the day, Matt fulfilled that vision.”
• David Thomas contributed to this report.