For the third time in five years, Collinsville High School is looking for a head football coach.
During a special meeting Monday, members of the District 10 School Board accepted the resignation of Rick Reinhart, who took charge of the Kahoks in 2015 following a successful seven-year run at Tuscola.
Reinhart led the Kahoks for three seasons with an accumulated record of 6-21, including a 1-8 finish in 2017. The veteran coach said Collinsville could have a competitive program but lacks the financing and a commitment from the board to rebuild its base.
“To say it’s been frustrating the last three years would be an understatement,” he said. “I don’t feel we’re going the way I want to go.
“We need time and money to get this program right, but I don’t feel like the board is willing to do what we need to do. I don’t understand why football is not on an even playing field with other sports here.”
The Kahoks have not had a winning season since 1998 and have never won a playoff game. Collinsville has made just three postseason appearances in its history: 1996 under John Jackson, 1998 under Tim Kane and 2010 under Mike Liljegren, when they finished 5-5.
Reinhart said he was hired in 2015 to stabilize the program, and his personal goal was to secure that first playoff victory.
His proposals to do so, he said, were sidelined by financial concerns.
Reinhart said he had an agreement both with Collinsville Middle School Principal Kim Jackson and Unit District 10 Superintendent Robert Green to start a feeder football program.
“Of all the places I’ve been, (a feeder program) is the easiest fix if you want to get a program where it needs to be,” Reinhart said. “You teach kids at an early age they have to put in the work, they have to keep up the grades and they have to play the game the right way.
We set a standard, and we adhered to it. If you weren’t out for two-a-days, and if you didn’t behave yourself, you couldn’t play. We took a young team and started seven sophomores and three juniors, and they were up against it all year long physically.
“We thought we were on our way. All of the sudden we went from it being no problem to not even being able to take our proposal before the board.”
Attempts to reach Green both by phone and email were not returned as of Thursday afternoon.
Reinhart also said he built a young coaching staff to guide the program into the future, but it was disbanded by the district’s staff reductions.
Reinhart said 26-year-old coach Dan Carlson, in particular, was being groomed to be the next head coach. He has since accepted the head coaching job at Class 3A North Mac High School.
“Coach Carlson is a lifetime football guy, which is exactly what we need here,” Reinhart said. “He got RIFed, which happens, but we were three days before two-a-days and were short coaches.”
Reinhart says he harbors no hard feelings toward Collinsville and expressed his appreciation both to the administration, his staff and the players who gutted out a hard season.
“We set a standard, and we adhered to it. If you weren’t out for two-a-days, and if you didn’t behave yourself, you couldn’t play,” he said. “We took a young team and started seven sophomores and three juniors, and they were up against it all year long physically.
“We won one game, and, to be honest with you, we probably could have won two more if we’d have taken some guys. But we made a point to set the tone for the future, and the guys just went above and beyond. I love these kids to death.”
Collinsville will leave the Southwestern Conference in football only following the 2018 season.
Kevin Robinson, human resources director at Collinsville, said the job will be posted on the district web site through Nov. 21. The pay and any associated teaching position would be determined by the experience of the individual candidates.
Reinhart, 65, has been a head coach for 42 years and arrived at Collinsville with 206 career wins. He also has coached at Fairfield (11 years), Civic Memorial (18 years) and Alton Marquette (one year). Reinhart began his career as an assistant at Mascoutah under Fred von der Linden.
He won a Class 1A state championship at Tuscola in 2009, then led the Warriors to consecutive second-place finishes in 2010 and 2011.
“To have had the opportunity to make three state finals appearances at the high school in your hometown is just beyond imagination,” he said.
Reinhart says he’s uncertain of his next steps but would entertain an opportunity to coach again.
“I’ve met some great people here, and I think we all want the same thing for the football program,” he said. “I hope the next guy is very successful.”