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posted: 4/27/2010 12:01 AM

Larkin turns to Scianna to lead football program

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Larkin looked within to find its new football coach.

Michael Scianna, an assistant varsity coach last fall and Larkin's freshmen football coach in 2008, was named varsity head coach Monday, athletic director John Young announced via news release.

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Scianna has also been Larkin's boys track coach for the past two seasons. He replaces Matt Gehrig, who took the vacant head coaching job at Huntley last month.

"I'm very happy," Scianna said. "I've been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. It just so happened that with Matt being out it fell in my lap."

One challenge for the new coach will be participation. Larkin went 5-4 last season with a varsity roster of 32 players.

"He has established good rapport with our students, and we think this is key to building up our numbers in our football program," Young said in the release.

Scianna, 43, got his first taste of high school football as a player in the fall of 1982 at Streamwood High School under the tutelage of coaches Jim Juliano and Dan Kallenbach, who both went on to become athletic directors in Elgin Area School District U-46.

Scianna played varsity football at Streamwood under then-coach Dave Smiley, now Elgin High's principal. He graduated from Streamwood in 1986, from Illinois Benedictine College with a degree in Physical Education in 1990, and he earned his Master's degree in Industrial Technology from Northern Illinois University.

A special education teacher for 14 years, Scianna was hired at Larkin in 2008 to teach physical education and drivers education. He previously worked for nine seasons as an assistant football coach at Montini, Benedictine University and Rolling Meadows. In addition to Juliano, Kallenbach and Smiley, he counts Montini coach Chris Andriano and Rolling Meadows coach Doug Millsaps as mentors.

"Mike is a great fit for Larkin," Gehrig said of his successor. "I think Mike has a great deal of experience to draw from. That's going to serve him well in his first opportunity to be a head coach. He's developed strong relationships with his students in the classroom and on the field. And from an Xs and Os standpoint, what I'd say is a great strength of his is the ability to adapt what he does scheme-wise to maximize the talents of the players he has to work with."

Scianna's hiring as coach comes at a time of uncertainty; he lost his teaching job at Larkin last month due to the reduction in force in District U-46. He is not guaranteed a position within the school next fall. "I'm excited to be the coach either way," he said.

Scianna said he learned Friday he had the job. He's been busy since. On Monday he announced the hiring of two assistant coaches: defensive coordinator J. Randy Hofman and offensive coordinator Bobby Bennett.

Hofman is a veteran who coached Richmond-Burton to a Class 2A state championship in 1992. Bennett has been a head coach at St. Francis (2004-06) and the College of DuPage (2003).

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