||More Sports||Sign up||School Finder|
Annie Christie/Special to Pioneer Press Vernon Hill's assistant coach Bill Bellecomo signals a play during Friday night's game against Zion-Benton. The host Cougars handily beat the Zee-Bees 41-15.
In its search for only the second football coach in school history, Vernon Hills didn’t have to look further than inside its own building.
Cougars athletic director Brian McDonald announced Saturday that the school has hired Bill Bellecomo as head coach. Bellecomo was an assistant under former coach Tony Monken — who resigned in December — for 13 seasons. He was the Cougars’ offensive and defensive line coach in 2012.
“We knew we had some great internal candidates. We also looked at some great external candidates. Ultimately, Bill was the best of all,” McDonald said. “We’re excited. He’s already doing stuff, getting going.”
McDonald added that Bellecomo was officially approved by the school board Tuesday night.
Bellecomo said he does not plan to make major changes to the Cougars’ staff. Defensive coordinator Greg Stilling and offensive coordinator Corey Atwell will return this fall. He added that the team plans to stick with the triple-option offense it ran under Monken.
Bellecomo said that although he is stepping into a new position, continuity is important as the team prepares for a busy offseason.
“We’ve already been meeting and putting things together. We had our first staff meeting (Friday night),” Bellecomo said. “That’s why we had the meeting to introduce the staff to the kids. They really want to know who’s sticking around, who will be my position coach. I have a calendar ready from now through August. We are ready to roll.”
Bellecomo teaches in the English department at Vernon Hills High School and resides in Wauconda. He replaces Monken, who had a record of 77-55 — including nine playoff appearances — in 13 seasons.