Preps Talk

St. Laurence hires Adam Nissen to coach Vikings football

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St. Laurence High School

St. Laurence hires Adam Nissen to coach Vikings football

There will be a new coach patrolling the sidelines in Burbank.

St. Laurence High School announced Tuesday that they have hired Immaculate Conception athletic director Adam Nissen as their new varsity football head coach. Nissen takes over for Harold Blackmon, who was relieved of his duties back on Apr. 1. 

"I'm grateful to have this opportunity to lead the St. Laurence football program,” said Coach Nissen. “I want to thank President Joe Martinez, Principal Jim Muting, Athletic Director Tim Chandler and the interview committee for trusting me to lead such a prestigious program into the future. I’m excited to meet the players, parents, faculty and the rest of the St. Laurence football community and hit the ground running.”

Nissen is from nearby Evergreen Park and brings a unique background that combines excellence in academics and athletics to the football program. At IC Catholic Prep, he oversaw all athletic programs – including a football program that won two IHSA State Championships during his tenure. Prior to his time at ICCP, Nissen was an assistant football coach at Mount Carmel High School from 2014-2017, where the team qualified for the state playoffs every season.  He was also the assistant head football coach at Urban Prep Academy for Young Men and Roberto Clemente High School from 2009-2014 and 2007-2008, respectively.

Nissen emerged as the top choice for the position after an exhaustive interview process with several highly qualified candidates. Among members of the interview committee were 11-year NFL veteran Tim Grunhard, St. Laurence Board Member and former Northwestern football player Jake Gregus ’09 and Illinois high school football coaching legend Frank Lenti, who currently serves as a special advisor to the St. Laurence football program. Athletic, academic and administrative leaders in the school were also part of the committee.

The Vikings will look to bounce back after a 4-7 campaign last season. That said, the program has been on an upswing recently. St. Laurence made four straight IHSA playoff appearances from 2014-17, including a 5A state semifinal berth in 2015 and a trip to the 6A semis in 2016.

12 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard West

12 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard West

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Glenbard West

Head coach: Chad Hetlet

Assistant coaches: John Sigmund, Jon Schweighardt, Chris VanDyke, Rick Heckman, Mike Hofland, Tad Keely and Sheldon Harris

How they fared in 2018: 8-3 (5-1 West Suburban Silver Conference). Glenbard West made the Class 8A state playoff field. They defeated Bartlett then lost to Lincoln-Way East in second round action.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 31 vs Maine South
Sept. 7 vs Leyden
Sept. 14 vs Proviso West
Sept. 20 @ Addison Trail
Sept. 28 vs York
Oct. 4 @ Downers Grove North
Oct. 11 @ Lyons Township
Oct. 19 vs Hinsdale Central
Oct. 25 @ Oak Park River Forest

[MORE: 15 Days to Kickoff - Maine South]

Biggest storyline: The Hilltoppers have been one of the most dominant Illinois high school programs the last decade or so, but have only advanced to the second round the previous two years. Can the Hilltoppers get back to making deeper runs in the IHSA state playoffs?

Names to watch this season: OLB Greyson Metz (Sr.) and OL Andrew Johnson (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Hilltoppers have a few key spots to fill this summer including quarterback and on the defensive line.
 
EDGY's Early Take: Glenbard West head coach Chad Hetlet has produced a 129-21 during his time in Glen Ellyn, including two state titles (2012, 2015) and a runner-up appearance (2009). Nine of his 12 seasons have resulted in double-digit wins. Witnessing the Hilltoppers get knocked out of the state playoffs at home, 45-0 to Lincoln-Way East, has undoubtedly provided plenty of offseason motivation. The 2019 ‘Hitters’ will look towards an experience and talented defense to lead the way. They’re headlined by senior OLB Greyson Metz, who anchors a unit that showed terrific speed this summer. On offense, they will look to run the football behind a line led by senior OL Andrew Johnson. Look for senior returning starters RB Joey Richmond and FB Nic Seifert to get plenty of touches this season. 
 

13 Days to Kickoff: Phillips

13 Days to Kickoff: Phillips

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Phillips

Head coach: Troy McAllister

How they fared in 2018: 9-3 (5-0 CPL Illini Land of Lincoln Conference). Phillips made the Class 6A state playoff field and defeated Lake Forest and Prairie Ridge. They advanced for the quarterfinal round and lost to Cary-Grove.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 31 @ Cass Tech (MI)
Sept. 7 vs St. Mary (MO) at East St. Louis
Sept. 13 vs Taft
Sept. 20 vs Raby
Sept. 27 @ Morgan Park (Gately Stadium)
Oct. 5 @ Simeon (Gately Stadium)
Oct. 11 vs Lane Tech
Oct. 19 @ Westinghouse
Oct. 25 @ Lincoln Park (at Lane Tech)

Biggest storyline: Phillips has gone from a Public League also-ran to a program with annual state title aspirations. Can the two-time state champion Wildcats get back into the 6A playoff field and make a deeper run this November?

Names to watch this season: S Robert Pledger (Sr., Western Michigan) OL/DL Demerick Morris (Sr., Temple)

Biggest holes to fill: The Wildcats will bring back an experienced team this season after playing a ton of underclassmen in 2018. The biggest hole is more from a leadership standpoint with the graduation losses of WR/DB Fabian McCray (NIU) and DB Joseph Thompson (Illinois), both of whom were long time varsity starters. 

EDGY's Early Take: Phillips (4A-sized enrollment) and head coach Troy McAllister volunteered to "move up" to Class 6A level last season and also this season. The Wildcats will bring back big group of returning starters who saw significant playing time last season.

While they came up short last season with a 6A quarterfinals loss to Cary-Grove, look for the Wildcats to again challenge everyone who comes their way in the Chicago Public League. They’ll have to be road warriors the first two weeks, as they take on marquee competition from out of state. The Oct. 5 date vs. Simeon is a must-see. The 6A playoff field will have to be wary of Phillips.