Look for new Sandwich football coach Chris VanDyke to implement an offensive weapon the Indians haven’t utilized in quite a while, the forward pass.
VanDyke, who last year served as Minooka’s offensive coordinator and was brought in to install a new spread attack, brings 14 years of high school coaching experience to the job.
“We were able to get someone we really feel is a quality coach for the program,” Sandwich Athletic Director Kris Cassie said of the choice made by the search committee he headed.
“We interviewed a number of very good candidates. Chris was the one who stood out to us as someone who has great moral character, really cares about the kids on and off the field and can continue to build on our winning tradition.”
The move was approved earlier this week by the Sandwich School Board.
“I’m making contact with my staff, getting to know them,” VanDyke said, adding that he will meet with his players for the first time on Friday.
“They started a conditioning program this week.”
Cassie said the new coach, who has taught physical education at a Plainfield middle school since 2000, plans to meet with parents early next week.
VanDyke replaces Dusty Behringer, who stepped down in late May to spend more time with his family after three successful years that included leading the Indians to a 20-12 record and three consecutive playoff appearances.
A Naperville Central graduate, VanDyke served for 12 seasons in two stints there as an assistant to both Joe Bunge and current coach Mike Stine. He also was the head coach in 2011 at Immaculate Conception, leading the Knights to a playoff appearance and 6-4 record.
“I wasn’t looking to change the offense,” said Cassie. “When Dusty made the decision to step down I just wanted to make the best choice for our program and players. I wanted someone who had head coaching experience and had served time as a coordinator”
Cassie also said he didn’t think VanDyke commuting from his home in Sugar Grove and job in Plainfield would be a problem.
“We have three teachers on (the football) staff who are in the building and we’ve had other coaches in the same situation,” Cassie said.
Behringer, who ran a double wing-T attack that seldom featured a pass, will continue to coach girls track at Sandwich and teach at the middle school.
“It’s been a goal of mine to be a head coach,” said VanDyke, adding that the spread “is just a formation. It doesn’t mean it’s gonna be a pass-first or run-first offense. We’re going to play to our players’ strengths. Really, we’re going to be more of a zone-oriented team.
“Look at a team like Northern Illinois. They spread you out but no one would say they don’t have a power running game.”