April 18, 2012

Former Warren Central coach John Hart takes position at Huntley

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

Less than a week after former Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central head coach John Hart announced in an open letter that he was leaving the Indiana power, the coach has found a new home.

RivalsHigh has learned through multiple sources that Hart will be taking the same position at Huntley (Ill.) High in the far west suburbs of Chicago and is expected to formally be announced in the coming days.

Tim O'Halloran, publisher of EdgyTim.com has been covering Illinois high school football since 1995, said that Huntley was a surprising choice for a coach as established as Hart.

"It is a school that is still in the developmental state," O'Halloran said. "It is a newer school district that saw a lot of early growth until the economy really bottomed out.

"It is hard to even say it is a mid-level school right now. It is certainly not a football power at this point."

Huntley has been open since 2004 and has seen its enrollment rise from 1,255 students to 2,426. But success on the football field has not followed as the team has just two winning seasons in its eight years competing and has amassed a cumulative 30-44 record.

Hart had a 41-9 record at Warren Central, won a state title, and had the team regularly appearing in the RivalsHigh 100 National Rankings. The Warriors finished No. 23 in 2011.

In his 27 years as a head coach, Hart has a 238-70 record and claimed two state titles during his stops in Albion (Ill.) Edwards County, Mt. Carmel (Ill.) High, Evansville (Ind.) Reitz, and Warren Central.

The move was prompted, according to Hart, due to a rift in the relationship between himself and Warren Central principal, Rich Shepler.

"It has gotten severe enough that I no longer trust or believe in him as a man who will do what is in the best interest of Warren Central HS," Hart wrote in his letter. "He has continually looked for the minutest reasons to be negative or derogatory to the accomplishments of our football team."

The move to Huntley will put Hart closer to his original roots in Chicagoland, but O'Halloran is somewhat skeptical as to whether this will be a long term destination.

"Maybe, if he is in this for the long haul, he can make it a good program," he said. "I would probably get about 75 or so schools deep before this job came up on the list."

Huntley will compete in the Fox Valley conference again this season where it was 1-5 in the conference in 2011 and has been 5-11 overall in the three years of conference play since moving up into Class 7A.

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