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Countryman came to Sycamore in 1998 after being the head coach at a small school in Lone Tree, Iowa. After a couple of years, he ended up as an assistant for Graves.
“Daryl called me out of the blue,” Countryman said. “I didn’t know him, he didn’t know me, he just knew I had been a head coach in Iowa. He said they needed some help and asked me if I’d do it. I thought about it a little bit and said sure, I’d give it a try.”
Countryman has been with the football program ever since.
“You get a lot of good stories and a lot of good laughs in the coach’s office,” Ryan said. “There’s a lot of history those guys can talk about Sycamore football, some of the things that happened before I got here and some of the kids that played before I got here. It helps me understand the history of things.”
And just as Ryan preaches a one-game-at-a-time mentality for his players, he said he’s not thinking too much about next year without Graves and Countryman.
“We tell the kids never to look to next year, so we’re not looking at that yet,” Ryan said. “We’re going to enjoy the heck out of what we’ve got this year and try to win some more games, so they can be a part of more than just nine.”
Both Ryan and Graves said the coach’s room is incredibly close given the time the trio has spent together.
Countryman agreed, saying that it is awesome.
“It really is,” Countryman said. “We get into some knock-down, drag-outs, because Coach Ryan let’s us say what we think. Obviously, he has the final say, but he’s really open about what we’re thinking. It’s been great as far as the coaching staff goes. We’ve been together as a staff – a couple guys have come and gone – but a lot of us have been doing this for 10 years probably together. You get pretty cohesive in that much time.”