Rob Lugge couldn’t have asked for a better situation in which to become a boys head soccer coach.
Lugge, a 2000 graduate of O’Fallon High School, has been selected to replace Clay Smith as Collinsville High’s coach following Smith’s resignation in early April. Lugge, 34, has been an assistant under Smith the last two years in both the boys and girls programs.
“It’s exciting,” Lugge said. “I want to continue with the success we’ve had under Coach Smith. Collinsville’s got such a history of soccer and being successful. I hope to continue it. Clay and I have similar philosophies. There will be tweaks here and there, but the style of play will be similar. Organization-wise, we’re very similar.”
Smith, who remains the girls coach, was 30-13-3 in two seasons with the boys after replacing Myles Hensler. Lugge is the eighth head coach in the history of the program.
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“I still live in O’Fallon, I grew up there and I played in high school there,” Lugge said. “I have a bunch of friends who went to Collinsville, so I completely understand the history of it. It’s a big job. Once I got it, I was excited and ready to get things going. I’ve been running around meeting with kids and (we had) a team meeting Monday to talk about the offseason and get things going.”
The Kahoks were 12-8-2 last season and won the Class 3A Granite City Regional before losing to Peoria Notre Dame 1-0 in penalty kicks in the sectional final.
I still live in O’Fallon, I grew up there and I played in high school there. I have a bunch of friends who went to Collinsville, so I completely understand the history of it. It’s a big job. Once I got it, I was excited and ready to get things going.
New Collinsville boys soccer coach Rob Lugge
“We would like to go a few games further,” Lugge said. “I think with the kids we have returning along with some of the younger guys we have ... we can make things happen.”
Among the players returning are seniors Hunter Counton and Nick Suria, juniors Zac Cawvey, Luke Liljegren, Logan Whitehead and Zane Baker. Whitehead had eight goals and three assists last season; Counton had five goals and two assists.
“We have a lot of kids who can play going forward,” Lugge said. “The thing for us is coaching them up and getting them to play defense a little bit more. Losing Clay Hartman, Jordan Blasingame and Brendan Peterson, that was our back line. That’s going to be the big challenge for us this year.”
Lugge, a special education instructor at Collinsville, played soccer at then-McKendree College. Before coming to Collinsville, he was an assistant in the boys program at O’Fallon under Jason Turkington and spent one season as an assistant in the girls program at Belleville East under Erika Todd-Baptist. He also has coached at Signal Hill School in Belleville.