New coach, same expectations at UT

Posted Online: March 20, 2013, 9:02 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Daniel Makarewicz, danmak@qconline.com
Evan Holschbach never experienced any nerves going from an assistant to the United Township boys' track coach.

"It's been an easy transition," Holschbach said.

What makes Holschbach so confident is continuing the philosophy that made the Panthers so successful in recent years. Maintaining an experienced coaching staff and developing a total-team mentality enable UT to continue moving forward as though nothing has changed.

In reality, the only difference is the name of the head coach.

Other than that, the status quo remains.

"I'm not changing a lot of things," said Holschbach, a former Augustana sprinter who spent the previous three seasons as the UT jumps coach. "I want to make sure the team is as successful as it has been. Ideally, I'd like to be more successful than we have been."

Taking success to another level is a bold move considering UT has won or shared the last five Western Big 6 Conference titles and earned two consecutive top 10 finishes at the Class 3A state meet. With Bob Feller as the head coach, the Panthers were good because they were good in everything.

Now in his first season as head coach, Holschbach wants to make sure that does not stop.

"It helps already having success to continue it," Holschbach said.

To keep the Panthers competitive, most of the coaching staff remains in place. Other than a new head coach, nothing really is different.

Holschbach, who earned a school-record five state medals during his prep career at Princeton, wants to leave his imprint on the program, but knows the Panthers are good because of assistant coaches such as Chris Wallaert, Jim Wesselman and Gary Phillips.

Keeping familiar faces around helps ease the transition. With the right people in place, the team works to ensure every event remains competitive so the Panthers can extend their Big 6 streak.

"That's the goal," Holschbach said. "There's not a part of me that says we don't have a chance."

Moving forward with that goal, UT stresses "the little things" that were a major part of its recent success. During a recent workout on a chilly afternoon at the Soule Bowl, the sprinters worked on proper handoffs during a relay.

A bad handoff resulted in push-ups.

When it comes time for the Panthers to compete for championships, those details are critical. No wonder they have been so strong for so long.

"It's tremendously important for the kids to be winners because we want the kids to be winners in life," Holschbach said. "I want them to find success because I want them to find success after they graduate. I want them to know what it takes to find success."

In recent years, that has not been a problem. Because of that, Holschbach keeps everything the same.

"It hasn't been trying to brainwash to be successful," Holschbach said. "All the upperclassmen have known a lot of success and done the hard work themselves. They know they can do it."

Most of all, Holschbach believes he is the right person to make sure the Panthers can do it again.

"I am confident," Holschbach said. "It's mostly because we still have that great coaching staff."


Local events heading

  Today is Saturday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2014. There are 102 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Recruits can get $500 by enlisting now. Lt Jobe has a recruiting office on Illinois Street.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Superintendent Schnitger formally inaugurated the Rock Island and Davenport Railway Line of the Holmes system by putting on four cars to start.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Wires of the defunct Union Electric Co. are being removed by city electricians.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The Bishop Hill softball team won the championship in WHB"S Mississippi Valley tournament at Douglas Park.
1964 -- 50 years ago: A boom in apartment construction has hit Rock Island, with approximately 300 units either in or near the construction stage or due for an early rezoning decision.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Members of the Bi-State Metropolitan Planning Commission are hoping to revive their push for a new $70 million four-lane bridge spanning the Mississippi River.

(More History)