Coach Hess reinstated


The 2014 football season brought a lot of changes for Normal West’s Coach Hess. It all started on September 19th, when Hess was first suspended by the school for a potential violation of IHSA rules. This suspension lasted for two football games, including Normal West’s homecoming game.

Though many students thought he would return after those games, he was then suspended for the rest of the season due to “a clear violation of IHSA by-laws” according to Illinois High School Association Executive Director Marty Hickman.

“Obviously there was great disappointment,” Coach Hess explains. “I felt like I was letting not only our football team down but the staff and our community. It was definitely a very humbling experience.”

As the season went on without Hess, Duane Thoennes served as West’s head coach for the remainder of the season. The Wildcats went 8-3 on the season losing in the second round of the playoffs to East St. Louis.

As December rolled around, many Normal West football fans waited eagerly for Hess’s return. But then more problems arose for Hess. In a meeting with school administrators, Hess was told that if he does not resign, he will be fired from his head coaching position.

This infuriated Normal West athletes, students, staff, parents, and fans as many took the issue to social media claiming it was unfair, and that Hess deserved no such punishment.

Five days after this uproar, however, Hess was reinstated by Unit 5. Superintendent Mark Daniel explained to the Pantagraph, “After discussions with Coach Hess today, Unit 5 has the confidence that he will take this experience and grow from it.”

Hess’s reinstating was of little surprise to West football fans, as he has done great things for the football program. Hess, however, was shocked. “It was a very pleasant surprise,” Hess explains, “I was amazed at the amount of support throughout this whole process and it really made me feel like my tenure here was worth it. I am just really excited to get back to work.”

The Wildcat community is definitely thrilled to have Coach Hess back as the head football coach where he belongs. Many are excited to see what he will do with the football program in the years to come.