The search lasted just more than a month but Elmhurst College has found its next football coach, Ron Planz, a former assistant coach at Minnesota State University.
The position became available when former head coach, Joe Adam took a position on the Syracuse coaching staff. Adam led the Bluejays for only one year before joining his predecessor, Tim Lester, at Syracuse.
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Like Adam, Planz comes to the team with a defensive background. He was the defensive line coach at Division II Minnesota State. Additionally, Planz served as the special teams coordinator. Planz was with the Mavericks for the past five seasons.
Elmhurst athletic director Paul Krohn said the team would be looking for a coach who had a multidisciplinary background. Coaching the special teams unit, Planz had worked with both offensive and defensive players.
The Bluejays will be the fifth team Planz has coached but his first time as a head coach. Before coaching at Minnesota State, Planz was the defensive coordinator at Manchester College and worked with defensive backs at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He also coached over seas for the Danube Dragons in Austria.
The new coach is not completely foreign to Elmhurst College and the surrounding area. Planz graduated from Fenton High School before attending CCIW rival Carthage.
Planz will be taking over an Elmhurst team that is coming off a rebuilding 4-6 season. The team is just a year removed, however, from its most successful season. In 2012 under Lester's lead the Bluejays won a share of the CCIW title and earned their first trip to the NCAA playoffs.
Senior wrestler Ryan Prater ended his collegiate career as a national champion. At 149 pounds Prater is now the third Bluejay in the last two years to win a wrestling national championship.
Prater transferred to Elmhurst from the University of Illinois. After leaving Illinois Prater took a few years off before enrolling at Elmhurst and joining the wrestling team. The 25-year-old now has both a national championship and a state championship as a high school wrestler.
Entering the NCAA Division III Tournament as a No. 2 seed in his weight class, Prater virtually cruised until reaching the finals. In his final match Prater took on top seeded Bobby Dierna from SUNY-Cortland. Prater took control in the second round before holding on to win the decision 4-2.
The Thunder men's basketball team finally ended its season after losing to Dickinson in the NCAA Tournament sectional finals.
Wheaton won its first two tournament games before meeting Dickinson. While the team hung around all game, it eventually fell 81-71. Senior Tyler Peters led the team with 26 points.
Wheaton finished with a record of 21-9. Had the Thunder won its matchup with Dickinson, it would have set up a rematch with conference rival Illinois Wesleyan. The Thunder lost both regular-season games against Illinois Wesleyan but beat the Titans in the CCIW Tournament championship. The Warriors went on to beat Dickinson and will be playing in the national semifinals this weekend.