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updated: 12/19/2012 11:44 PM

Maddie excited about new WMU coach, Kaneland-grad Fleck

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  • Here's P.J. Fleck, above speaking after being named as Western Michigan's new football coach on Tuesday, and below during his senior year 13 years ago playing football at Kaneland High School.

      Here's P.J. Fleck, above speaking after being named as Western Michigan's new football coach on Tuesday, and below during his senior year 13 years ago playing football at Kaneland High School.
    AP photo

  • FLECKpj_mg0998mpaOT FOR JIM WOJO P.J. FLECK Football player at Kaneland High School September 1998 photo Jim Wojo (630) 587-8640 t98_1666

      FLECKpj_mg0998mpaOT FOR JIM WOJO P.J. FLECK Football player at Kaneland High School September 1998 photo Jim Wojo (630) 587-8640 t98_1666

 
 

For Anthony Maddie it was must-see TV on the computer.

The Aurora Christian graduate, who in 2011 led the Eagles to the first of their two straight state football championships, is on Christmas break from Western Michigan University. On Tuesday Maddie was hanging out at his Plainfield home. It was about 1:50 in the afternoon -- 10 minutes before he focused on the live computer stream of the news conference for his new coach at Western Michigan, Kaneland graduate P.J. Fleck.

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"I'm excited about it," Maddie said.

"As far as what type of offense he'll run, I'm not quite sure yet. But just from the rumors, I'm excited about it and how I'll fit into it."

Maddie was a redshirt his freshman year. Next year he'll join another incoming sophomore, an incoming junior and an incoming senior all returning at the quarterback position for the Broncos.

Having coached receivers at several college stops, most recently with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL -- not to mention being ranked sixth all-time in receptions in Illinois while playing for consecutive Kaneland championship teams -- Fleck would give a quarterback like Maddie reasons for optimism.

"It's nice having a head coach being an offensive-minded guy," Maddie said. "I'm excited about it."

Maddie said the calls and texts flying around among the Western Michigan football community were unanimous in their anticipation. Fleck, being just 32 and the youngest coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision, should also relate well with his college players.

Maddie said he'd heard of Fleck's passion and enthusiasm.

"I've just heard that he's kind of a no-days-off kind of guy," Maddie said. "That's what we needed in a coach."

School gets back in session Jan. 7 at Western. Maddie will be there waiting.

"I'm excited to get in there and meet with the coaching staff when I get back in to school," he said. "I'll just be working hard over the break, trying to make a good impression."

Providing satisfaction

It's basketball season and that means it's time to write about the St. Francis Pep Band.

Why St. Francis' band?

Because they're a lot of fun and they're directed by 1998 Batavia graduate Bob Mamminga. He packs his Pep Band into one section of bleachers at the Spyglass Athletic Center and does his conducting from the floor just off the corner of the court, nearly overrun by his "rock group," which includes Wayne residents Antonio Salas and Sadie Filipski, Naperville's Keller Dillinger and Winfield's John Von Bampus. St. Charles' Jack Keefer is the student director. One of Mamminga's mentors is former Batavia band director John Heath.

At a recent game the band played typical selections "Eye of the Tiger" along with "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and Kiss' "Rock and Roll All Night." The rock group played some AC/DC and the classic "Rescue Me."

One really neat thing about St. Francis' band is their often unconventional tastes. Although Rush's "Tom Sawyer" was absent from a recent hearing -- any Rush reference must be included whenever possible -- it's in the rotation. Recently the band played something from Fall Out Boy, No Doubt and, hard to believe, Bloc Party's "Helicopter."

Not even North Central College radio station WONC plays "Helicopter." But Von Bampus and Salas asked Mamminga to give it a listen with the possibility of adding it to the set list.

"I am very careful and deliberate when picking out the songs for the band," Mamminga wrote in an email. "I pick out all of them but I do listen to the kids if they give me suggestions."

He won't run with just anything. In this case he went so far as to check out a Bloc Party interview to ascertain what the lyrics to "Helicopter" meant, even though the St. Francis band performed it as an instrumental.

"We are a Catholic Christian school, so I'm not looking to create controversy," Mamminga says, "just play good music and let the kids shine for the talents they've been given."

Encore!

St. Charles soccer unites

The St. Charles Soccer Alumni will play their 10th annual Holiday Classic soccer tournament from 6-9:30 p.m. Dec. 29 at Sportsplex St. Charles. Registration is open to all alumni of St. Charles Community, East and North high schools who played at any level in high school.

A concentrated effort of the Alumni is to strengthen participation and involvement by St. Charles North alums and former members of both schools' girls programs.

So far, though, there's a stellar lineup of men. You've got all-American Derek Shanahan, all-staters Clint Hull, Ryan Lindgren and Mike Murphy. There's former Saints state champions Bob Akers, Steve Wilhusen, Phil Krahenbuhl, Matt Wasinger, Jay Lindgren, Jason Franko and Steve Erd, who afterward will host anyone who survives the ruckus back at his place, The House Pub in St. Charles.

Also, former Saints Peter Kelly, Josh Robinson, J.B. Lorenty and Nate MacGowen will revisit their storied, Elite Eight past.

In trying to build a social community, the St. Charles Soccer Alumni are encouraging local businesses and residents to get involved as well. Jay Lindgren will take calls for sponsorships at (630) 965-5039. Registration for the tournament can be found on Facebook, at the website stcalumni.com or for other questions, call Krahenbuhl at (630) 440-1460.

Here's the point

There's no "I" in "Team." But there is an "e" and an "a" and those are both in the name, Drew David, as well.

In Kaneland's 50-45 win over DeKalb last Friday, David showed what one person can do for a basketball team, especially if that one person is entering his third season as a starting point guard.

Knights coach Brian Johnson said Kaneland had averaged 18 turnovers while the junior remained out with a fractured hand suffered in Week 7 of the football season against Yorkville. Against DeKalb the Knights committed 10 turnovers and David's 6 assists in his season debut nearly equaled that -- plus all 8 of his points in the fourth quarter with a couple steals to help seal the deal.

"He really was a calming influence down the stretch," Johnson said.

The extent of the injury that kept the junior quarterback out of the Week 8 football game against Sycamore was never fully revealed. He was a surprise scratch for that game, then returned for the Northern Illinois Big 12 East clincher against Morris and both of the Knights' playoff games.

Johnson said after football season David had surgery, which has left him with a screw in his wrist. His absence for the first six games of the season -- plus the transfer of another guard from last season, Thomas Williams -- thrust others into ball-handling positions to which they were not accustomed.

It remains to be seen how much better 3-4 Kaneland's record improves, but having a coach-on-the-floor type who's won two football conference titles and regional and conference titles in basketball can't hurt.

"He puts guys back in their normal spots where they're confident and they can be successful," Johnson said.

doberhelman@dailyherald.com

Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1

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