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The Paw Print

News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

A deep dive into the positive impact of Darren Hess at West

provided by Nathan Fincham
Above, Coach Darren Hess (in white) is awarded the Illinois High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame honor, alongside head coach Nathan Fincham (in black).

Mr. Darren Hess has been at Normal West for the last 21 years as a teacher and football coach. His impact has not gone unnoticed.

Hess has impacted the lives of so many people. Whether it is in the classroom or on the football field, Hess’s ability to do well in two worlds has been remarkable.

His key?


“Balancing your time matters. In the midst of the football season, it is hard to balance stuff because I have to watch film and do my football responsibilities…and I am trying to balance, and not neglecting my students, because I am a teacher first…so… it matters that I try to master the balancing of both worlds,” Hess states.

This balancing of time and dual lives has been amazing, and Hess believes he has impacted the football program and teaching classes here at West: “Hopefully I have built relationships with people, because life is like football. It is going to be up and down, and it helps you prepare for life, and I can’t wait for people to come back and talk to me after ten years because that means if I have impacted you as a person…and teaching class involves relationships, and my door is always open to have different sides of me,” he notes.

Hess’s impact is indefinitely felt throughout the school community, and Wildcat football head coach, Nathan Fincham knows that the program is extremely lucky to have him.

“Coach Hess has had a monumental impact not only on myself personally, but on the Normal West School, Community, Culture, as well as the Football Program” Fincham comments. “His passion for teaching and mentoring is present both in the classroom and on the football field. He has elevated Normal West High School and its Football Program to a high standard in his time here.”

Hess has had a positive impact for a long time, and he plans to continue into his life outside of school, as he heads into his retirement next year.

One thing is for sure: Hess has impacted this school for the better, and we as a community couldn’t thank him enough.

“Coach Hess is the epitome of a student-first kind of teacher. His passion for working with kids has been a constant throughout his entire career” Social studies department chair, John Bierbaum, adds.

“The amount of time he has spent over the course of his career coaching in addition to his classroom duties is admirable. He set a high bar for the success of the football program to which Coach Fincham has maintained, and Coach Hess will undoubtedly leave a big footprint after next year when he retires.”


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