Zac Chatterton named Streaks football coach


by John Ring

One day, Zac Chatterton was escorting Leroy Shumaker around Galesburg High School. Chatterton showed Shumaker, who had been selected as the new Streaks football coach, the facilities at GHS.

"I showed him the weight room and I introduced him to the players," said Chatterton, who was an assistant coach for Zach Shay last season. "But I just couldn’t get a read on him. I wasn’t with him a long time. After I left him, people asked me about him but I really didn’t have an opinion on him, one way or the other."

Chatterton’s unease with Shumaker was well founded. Shumaker resigned two days later, citing a lack of numbers in the overall program and being misled about younger teams’ records by the Search Committee tasked to hire a new coach– a charge which was adamantly denied.

And so it was that–one week later– the Streaks coaching position was offered to Zac Chatterton last Saturday night by Athletic Director Mike Robson, GHS Principal Bill Scheffler and District 205 Superintendent Neil Sappington.

"I jumped at it," said the 26-year old Chatterton. "They basically told me it was my program and run it as I see fit. There’s no interim label and no time line involved. That’s a good thing to hear, a good feeling to have."

Ironically, Chatterton was confirmed as the coach on Tuesday night, the same day he held a 7 on 7 drill at the high school. "I’m already working on getting my staff together. A big key will be getting a defensive coordinator because Zach did that last year and his knowledge in that aspect of the game was incredible."

"The other thing about Zach was the unbelievable intensity that guy had. His never-say-die attitude. We need to keep that rolling."

In Shay’s only year as coach– he resigned to accept a position with the University of Georgia football program– the Streaks were 5-4 in the regular season and made the state playoffs.

Zac Chatterton graduated from Spoon River Valley High School in 1995 and then Monmouth College in 1999. He’s be an assistant coach (offensive and defensive lines) for two years.

"To me, football is an extension of the classroom," said Chatterton. "Football means how to conduct yourself in life and to be accountable for others. It shows you the big picture and how to be a team player."

"We lost some talented seniors but we have some hard nosed kids coming back. They have the heart to get the job done for us."

For now, Chatterton intends to do what he did last summer– organize the team for summer camps, meet with his players and get a feel for the what the Streaks need to work on for the upcoming season.

"What Zac Chatterton did last summer was huge for the program," said former assistant coach Scott Gasper. "Zac got things going before Coach Shay got back to Galesburg."

Asked if he was concerned about what the sophomore team’s record was last season, Chatterton just laughed. "That’s in the past," said the Streaks coach about Shumaker’s concerns, "but it sure worked out for me. Everything happens for a reason."

"I talked to Jeff Houston today. We joked that it must be a Monmouth College connection. But we both understand what’s ahead for both of us. We know the kids in the program, we know it’s going to take some time but we’re here and we’re not going anywhere. We want to see the job done right."

So will he be nervous at VanDyke Field on Opening Night, 2003?

"With any new position, there’s a sense of nervousness," said Chatterton, "but in my case, it’s overridden by the desire to win. We want pride in our football program. We want to build on what was done last year."