Jahns returns as Kaneland wrestling coach

Unless Kaneland moves campuses or the paint suddenly thins, Monty Jahns will remain linked to the Knights’ wrestling room.

A former Kaneland athlete from the Class of 1981, Jahns earned a place on the 20-win wall, and ostensibly surveyed that space each day during a lengthy run as an assistant and head coach.

Citing an increased workload at his day job with Nicor Gas, Jahns stepped down in March after leading the program for five seasons. Earlier this month, he returned for one final winter out of a sense of duty.

Former Knight Jeremy Kenny, who had been recommended and approved by District 302 to replace Jahns in the offseason, elected to take another position as the 2013-14 school year approached.

“I kind of knew that he was looking at options,” Jahns said, “and I knew if we were going to be without, that I would be willing to go back for another season until they were able to get a full-time head coach that will hopefully be in the school. But if not, give them a little bit more time to search. ...

“We had the right guy, but it just didn’t work out.”

Plano athletic director Jim Schmidt confirmed Kenny is working as a teacher in District 88 while serving as an assistant coach for football, wrestling and track. An attempt to reach Kenny was unsuccessful.

Jahns keeps in touch with Kenny, who was a full-time Kaneland security guard last school year, and acknowledged he made the move in the interest of his career.

Jahns and Kenny both were known to be active in the mat room.

The program displayed similar mobility last season, as Kaneland produced multiple state place-winners for the first time since 1993. Recent graduate Dan Goress, the Class 2A state champion at 145 pounds, headlined the list.

Despite Goress’ and other graduation losses, Jahns is eager to see how a new crop of seniors – namely Justin Diddell (285), Dane Goodenough (132/138) and Zack Russell (152/160) – handle increased leadership expectations.

Junior brothers Nick Mish (106) and Adam Mish (113) also are poised for big seasons.

“I don’t want to say a rebuilding year,” Jahns said. “We’ll have a lot of young wrestlers in the lineup, a few upperclassmen and at least I think we’ll be able to fill most, if not all of the weights.”

That’s a scenario Jahns thought he was leaving a protege. Now that he’s back, Jahns might as well make the most of it.