Boys' Soccer Coach of Year: Hoopeston Area's John Klaber
Why he’s Coach of the Year: Guided his alma mater to the school’s first regional championship, followed by a berth in the sectional finals in which the Cornjerkers were ousted from the Sweet 16 on a goal with less than a second to play by the school (Herscher) that eventually placed second in Class 1A.
Season highlights: The 18-5 Cornjerkers won two regular season tournaments, earned a share of their seventh Vermilion Valley Conference crown while establishing season records for wins, goals and assists. “Going into the season, I knew there was the potential for this to be a great year, but I didn’t imagine how great of a year it would be. I grew up playing youth soccer here. It is amazing to come back and coach the team I once played for. Our superintendent (Hank Hornbeck) coached the team my freshman and sophomore years, and our AD (Kevin Root) took over my junior and senior years,” ninth-year head coach Klaber said.
A few of my favorite things: French toast ... Buffalo Wild Wings ... Last text to my wife, Whitley ... First job was working with Lingley Brothers Sweetcorn when I was in high school ... Role model is my grandfather ... Dodge Ram pickup ... Casting Crowns ... Lionel Messi ... Bible ... “The Blacklist” ... Three things on my bucket list are go with my wife on a European vacation, catch a Chelsea game while we’re there, walk my daughter down the aisle one day and start my own business.
About Coach Klaber: “He built us over the past four years. It’s a credit to him for putting us in the right places. He pushes you hard and knows what your limits are. I would not be where I am today without him. He is an excellent coach and knows what he’s talking about. He puts in work year-round, watched us play indoors and it paid off.” — Brennan Crose, Hoopeston Area scoring leader