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Collinsville hires Rick Reinhart as new football coach

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Rick Reinhart, who has spent the last seven seasons at Tuscola High, was hired Wednesday night as the new football coach at Collinsville.

Reinhart, a Tuscola native, led the Warriors to the Class 1A state championship in 2009. Tuscola was runner-up in 2010 and 2011, also in Class 1A.

Last season, the Warriors were 10-3 in Class 2A, losing 22-20 to Maroa-Forsyth in the semifinals.

Reinhart, 62, has been a head coach for 37 years. He also has coached at Fairfield (11 years), Civic Memorial (18 years) and Alton Marquette (one year). Reinhart and his wife, Chris, have maintained a home in Bethalto during Reinhart’s years in Tuscola. Reinhart began his career as an assistant at Mascoutah.

“Life’s about experiences and challenges, and we’re going to have both probably (in Collinsville),” Reinhart said Wednesday while returning to the metro-east from Indianapolis. “I’m excited to get back home. Tuscola was the most wonderful place in the world. I’m from there, but we still have our house in Bethalto and my wife has been more than understanding.

“To be able to sleep at home at night and get the family back together, get back to the metro ... Collinsville bent over backwards for me. It’s going to be a great thing where I can teach part-time and coach. It’s a win-win situation for me, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I still think I’ve got something I can give to the game.”

Reinhart, who replaces John Blaylock as coach, will teach physical education on a part-time basis. Blaylock resigned in November after just two seasons. Collinsville was 2-16 under Blaylock, 1-8 both years.

Reinhart has 206 career wins, and he was 61-25 at Tuscola.

Reinhart said Collinsville Athletics Director Darin Lee called him in December to discuss the possibility of coming to Collinsville. Reinhart initally wasn’t interested, but Reinhart and Lee talked again last week, and the job became more appealing.

Reinhart visited Collinsville on Monday and accepted the job Tuesday morning, pending approval of the school board. That came Wednesday night.

For years, Collinsville has faced an uphill battle in football, competing in the Southwestern Conference with the likes of East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Belleville East, Belleville West and O’Fallon.

The Kahoks have made just three postseason appearances – 1996 under John Jackson, 1998 under Tim Kane and 2010 under Mike Liljegren. The Kahoks never have won a playoff game and haven’t had a winning season since 1998.

“We’re going to have our work cut out for us, but I’m going to meet with the kids on Monday and I’m looking forward to that and putting together a coaching staff,” Reinhart said. “We’re just going to have to go one step at a time and build it from the ground up. Hopefully, we’ll get some kids excited about playing football again and try to be competitive.

“We’ve got to concentrate on getting some more skills kids out, developing kids. We’ll try to get these kids feeling good about being part of a program.”

Reinhart said another factor in his departure from Tuscola was his belief that one of his assistants, Andy Romine, was ready to be a head coach. He hopes Romine is named as his successor.

“It’s time for him to step up and be a head coach,” Reinhart said. “And for me, it might be a great way to end a career.”

Smith takes over

There was more coaching news at Collinsville on Wednesday as Clay Smith, the assistant athletics director and girls soccer coach, was hired as the boys soccer coach.

Smith replaces Myles Hensler, who resigned at the end of last season.

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