SHERRARD — While he loves the Xs and Os part of football, Scott Monson was never interested in becoming a head coach for that in his first 13 seasons as an assistant at Sherrard High School.
Then, after Jason Kirby left as head coach following the 2009 season, that all took a turn. Finally, on Tuesday, the Sherrard board of education changed all of it by making Monson the coach of the Tigers.
"I had worked those years where Pat Elder had one way of doing things and we did things well," Monson said. The Tigers made the playoffs in five of Elder's seven seasons. "When I first started as an assistant in 1997, I never dreamed of being a head coach. I love the Friday nights and I love the scheming, but I really didn't want to do the rest.
"Then, after Kirby left after the 2009 season, I started to think I wanted this. I just noticed the climate wasn't what it should be."
Monson, 54, teaches social studies at Sherrard and takes over for Brian Adams, who went 3-24 in his three seasons at the helm. The two of them had a hand in ending a 15-game losing streak against Spring Valley Hall on Week 5 of the 2016 season.
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The Tigers have missed the IHSA football playoffs since 2009-10.
Monson understands the task will not be easy but he is positive he can get the Sherrard program rolling again — and it doesn't start with anything he will do on the field.
"I have no timetable as to when we will be a big winner," he said. "The first thing I want to do is gauge the habits I see from the kids. I am of the belief that, as a coach, you create good daily habits with the kids. We will build champions and that will win championships. We have some cultural issues and I believe you fix those through athletics."
Monson says he will pick and choose some bits from each of the five coaches he has worked under at Sherrard, ncluding Jeff Lindmark's wing-T and Brett Lee's five-wide, throw it 40 times a game style. On defense, he likely will make a few modifications of the 3-3 he ran the last few years.
"What we'll try to do is do a few things and do them well," he said. "The key for us is regaining the confidence we had a number of years back. That starts in the weight room and putting our guys in the best place for them to succeed. I'm excited about the kids we have coming back and the kids coming up in the system. We're going to surprise some people right away."