SESSER — Following a first round exit in the playoffs last season, the Sesser-Valier Red Devils have made some changes to the coaching staff for the upcoming football season. While Coach John Shadowens will still be leading the team, he’ll have a little help from his new Co-Head Coach Mike Rude.
After amassing 217 wins over a 47-year coaching career, the future was unclear for Coach Mike Rude after resigning from the head coaching spot at Vienna/Goreville.
"I had resigned at Vienna, so I didn’t know what I was going to do. I knew I was going to coach, I just didn’t know where I was going to coach, and Coach Shadowens, he called me and said, ‘Can we get together for breakfast and just discuss football?’," said Rude.
"He thought that we were going to go over the season, thought maybe I wanted to do some Xs and Os with him, and I did, but as we talked, I asked him, ‘Would you want to work together maybe?’ and we just kind of arrived at this co-coaching idea," said Shadowens.
The two sat on the idea and waited a few months for the Sesser-Valier School District to approve the move to have Co-Head Coaches run the football team.
"You have to think outside the box a little bit, because I didn’t want to just ask Coach Rude to come as an assistant coach and work under me. He’s a double Hall of Famer, won 217 game to be exact, and I have just way too much respect to ever want that to happen," said Shadowens.
The district approved the move Monday, and starting this season, Shadowens will man the offense, while Rude will run things on the defensive side of the ball, but Rude says he doesn’t plan on bringing too many system changes.
"John has his way he does things, and that’s what the Sesser kids are used to, and I don’t see any need for me to step in and say, ‘This the way I’ve done it Anna, or Marion, or Johnston City, or Vienna.’ What the Sesser kids are comfortable with, I think we’ll stay with," said Rude.
With the move finalized and official, the two are eager for camp to start, and get the ball rolling.
"I’m ready to go right now, you know, you’re going to have to wait until camp, but I just as soon as start tomorrow," said Rude.
"It’s rejuvenated me, to see Coach Rude, he’s 71-years old, to be as fired up as he is, he’s like a 25 year old coach right now. I hope some of his energy rubs off on everybody around here," said Shadowens.