(c) Copyright Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.
Bryan Stortz has been selected as the new Rock Island High School football coach, according to a source familiar with the process. The source, under condition of anonymity, said a verbal agreement has been reached between Stortz, the current head coach at Lake Zurich, and the Rock Island-Milan School District.
The selection cannot be made official until gaining board approval. According to the district calendar, the next board meeting is Jan. 10.
Reached by text message on Monday, Rocky principal Tim Wernentin did not confirm that Stortz, a state-title winning coach, was the school's choice, but did say, "I am extremely happy about the results of the selection and process used."
Efforts to reach Stortz on Monday afternoon were unsuccessful.
Sources say Stortz was selected from a pool of seven finalists interviewed on Dec. 21. Six of the finalists were coaches with strong ties to either the Western Big 6 Conference or Illinois Quad-Cities football. The pool of seven was reduced to two finalists, who met with Wernentin and new athletic director Chris Cartee for a second interview.
A source said the other finalist was Greg King, current Sterling head coach and former Rocky assistant.
Stortz reportedly beat out as many as 60 candidates from 15 states, according to a source. During a six-year tenure with the Bears, Stortz has compiled a 62-16 record with six playoff appearances. On top of that, he won the 2007 Class 7A state title, finished second in 2006 and 2010, and led the Bears to the 10-win mark four times, including this past season, when the team lost in the Class 7A state semifinals.
Lake Zurich, with an enrollment of 2,200 students and a member of the North Suburban Conference, had nine total playoff appearances and no state trophies prior to Stortz's arrival in 2006.
Stortz would replace longtime Rocky coach Vic Boblett, who retired prior to last season. Boblett is the most successful coach in Rocky history, leading the program to a 170-60 record in 21 years with 16 playoff berths, 11 Big 6 titles and the 1997 Class 5A state runner-up trophy.
Prior to that, Boblett went 36-9 in four seasons at Geneseo.
Stortz would become the 21st coach in Rocky football history.