Colleagues often viewed Ryan Webber as an up-and-coming prospect in the basketball coaching profession.
Tuesday night, Webber took the next step in his career.
After a four-year tenure with the Moline boys' basketball program, Webber is leaving that post to take over the head-coaching position at Gurnee-based Warren Township High School. Webber was officially hired for the job on Tuesday night after the Warren school board approved the hiring.
Webber spent four of his seven-year head-coaching tenure at Moline, compiling a 78-39 record with one Class 4A regional title and a Western Big 6 Conference championship. Three out of those four years, the Maroons advanced to the regional final.
"We are very, very excited," Warren athletic director Mark Pos said. "As Ryan went through the interview process, each time we met him, he stuck out. Communication skills, knowledge, experiences. Not too many times do you have a 31-year-old with 150 (career victories). It's not like he's a small-town guy. The Western Big 6 certainly has quality teams and environments."
Pos said Webber, one of 57 applicants and eight finalists to replace longtime coach Chuck Ramsey, was offered and accepted the job on Friday. Webber stayed in Gurnee on Tuesday night and is spending today meeting with his players and the community.
Reached by phone Tuesday night, Webber said "it's going to be hard" leaving Moline, but that "we're very fortunate" to get this opportunity. Even before the position at the state's fifth-largest high school was officially opened two months ago, Webber and his wife Megan were visiting family in the Chicago area and made a trip to Gurnee to check out the area.
At that time, he realized this was a move he was comfortable making should the opportunity present itself.
"It offered everything that my wife and I are looking for in terms of settling down and raising a family," Webber said. "Tremendous school district. If you talk to coaches around the state, they view this as one of the top five jobs."
Besides going to a program that has won back-to-back Class 4A sectional titles and finished as the state runner-up in 2011, Webber will have increased job security in the Warren physical education department. In March, he was one of 74 teachers pink-slipped by the Moline School District, the second time in three years that happened to the Galesburg native.
Webber said "not knowing what our district was going to do and being in limbo" regarding his PE teaching position at Wilson Middle School did play a part in this process.
"There wasn't any communication" from the school district, Webber said. "You've always got to take care of your family."
So Webber was proactive in finding a better situation for himself and his family. Because of that, Moline is searching for a coach at a time when hires are sometimes made.
"It's a little late in the game, and we don't yet know what teaching positions we can offer," Moline athletic director Todd Rosenthal said. "But this is one position where we never have a problem finding quality candidates. It's not like tennis or golf or some other sports where it is hard to find the right person in the right situation. Western Big 6 basketball at Wharton Field House is a big deal."
Those final two factors made the ultimate decision difficult for Webber.
"I'm going to miss the Friday nights in the Big 6," Webber said. "It's a tremendous conference and venues. There's a lot of good I'm leaving behind."
Today is Tuesday, May 21, the 141st day of 2013. There are 224 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: On Monday the 11th inst. on Center Ridge in Mercer County,some citizens got out their cannon to celebrate the taking of Richmond. The gun wasoverloaded and burst. No one was injured, but one 30-pound piece went though thesecond story of a house. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The old folks concert at the Harper Theater last night to benefit St.Luke's Cottage Hospital, attracted a large audience. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Unless depredation by vandals in Rock Island parks is halted,special policemen will be assigned to night duty to protect the flowers and other property. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Station WHBF has received a special citation from Washington forits participation in Air Mail Week, which was observed this week throughout the nation. 1963 -- 50 years ago: A 10-year high in employment in the Quad-City area was reachedat the end of the last quarter, according to an industrial employment barometer releasedtoday. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Pee Wee teams will be able to play baseball and softball as usualon Diamond Three at Dorrance Park this summer, but after that, the ball field is doomed.County crews have put the diamond back in shape after heavy trucks marred the playingfield earlier this spring. Illinois Department of Transportation crews drove onto it to makeborings for the relocation of the junction of Illinois 84 and the Port Byron-Hillsdale road.