After eight seasons and seven straight trips to the IHSA playoffs, Cameron Pettus has resigned as the head coach football coach at Belleville West.
Citing a desire to return to his family and home state of Georgia, Pettus notified West players and family members on his Twitter account on Wednesday.
“As my mom and dad get older, I realize it is important for me to return to my home state of Georgia to be with them, my brother, sister and their families. As the oldest sibling, I feel it’s my responsibility to help out with my family as much as possible; therefore, I will be relocating to Georgia with Erin and Cambell, where I will continue to teach and coach.
“I know Belleville West football will continue to thrive and do great things because of the special people who work so hard, its leadership and the drive of the community. I am forever indebted.’’
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Taking over the coaching duties in 2011, Pettus has rebuilt the Maroons program. After a losing season season in his first year, Pettus has since guided the Maroons to seven straight playoff appearances. The Maroons finished 7-3 this past year, losing a first round Class 7A playoff contest.
Pettus finished with a 45-35 record during his eight seasons at West.
Belleville West athletic director Lee Meyer said that the decision to leave Belleville West was not an easy one for Pettus.
“I know it’s a decision which has weighed heavily on his mind in the past week or so,’’ Meyer said. “Let me say that I have the utmost respect for Cameron and his desire to return to the state of Georgia and to be back close to his family.’’
Pettus attended Paulding County High School in Georgia and then played college football at Millikin University in Decatur. A wide receiver and defensive back in high school, Pettus was a tight end in college, where he played for Carl Poelker.
Pettus found his way to the metro-east as a defensive line coach and special teams coordinator under Poelker at McKendree.
Former Belleville East head coach Tim Funk was an assistant at Millikin during Pettus’ playing days and then worked with him on Poelker’s Bearcats’ staff.
“We go way back. I’ve probably known Cameron since 1990,’’ Funk said. “He was a defensive back when he got here (McKendree), but got bigger as time went on and played tight end. He was a good football player and very competitive ...I think there are like 14 or 15 of us from the Belleville East-West connection who coached or played at McKendree under coach Poelker. I think we learned to do things the right way through hard work.’’
From McKendree, Pettus moved on to Belleville West where he was an assistant under Ric Johns before being hired to take over the Maroons program in 2011.
Pettus said he has been blessed to have the opportunity to coach at Belleville West.
“I’m so thankful for the community of Belleville, staff, administration, players and families,’’ Pettus said on Twitter. “It has been my greatest honor to be a part of something as special as being a teacher and coach here at Belleville West. I learned so much as a member of this team and made great relationships that will last a lifetime. I am truly honored and humbled to have been a part of this great program and community.’’
Belleville Township High School District 201 already replaced one football coach this year, when they tabbed Bloomington native Mike Harrison to replace Kris Stephens at East. Stephens also played at McKendree under Pettus and was a defensive assistant under him at West.