Immaculata High School announced earlier this month that a new head coach — a school alumnus — has been hired to lead the Raiders' football program.
The Raiders look to Fred Elliot, a 1981 Imac graduate, to turn the program around after struggling the past few seasons.
Elliot comes to the job with an extensive resume.
He was an assistant coach for Blue Valley High School's football program with current St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer as the team’s quarterback.
He also was an assistant coach at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School and Shawnee Mission East High School. Elliot has served as head coach twice before in Kansas with Madison High School and Brewster High School.
As a current teacher at Shawnee Mission East, he’s been driving to Leavenworth daily for the school’s weight program.
Immaculata Athletic Director Bronson Schaake said he believes the coaching change will provide the Raiders with the push needed to bring the school back to its winning ways.
“Whenever someone new is hired, there’s always a sense of excitement with the kids,” Schaake said. “You have a tough task to get to the kids on the fence, but I think he’s done a great job of coming into weights every day to talk to kids and try to influence them to play football.”
Before the hiring, Elliot was a full-time teacher. It was when he realized his teaching career was nearing its end that he decided to return to coaching football.
He said he remembers his time as a student at Immaculata. The football team was strong and students wanted to play, the new coach said.
Football participation has declined the last several years, and Elliot said his first goal is to fill out his roster.
“We used to have like 50 kids out for football,” Elliot said. “This school then was 3A, not 2A. So, we’re just trying to build that back up because it’s been shrinking over the last six or seven years.”
The Raiders football team has won four games in three years, including a winless 2013 campaign.
Schaake said Elliot’s drive to build Immaculata back to prominence is what made him stand out from other candidates.
“He’s very big on building,” Schaake said. “I like his knowledge of the game, but his energy was what really stood out to me. I think it’s going to go great with our group of kids.
“Immaculata seems to have a lot of pride in their school and they want to see different kids doing well now. … I think he just had that extra drive because of being an alum to turn things around.”
Immaculata High School begins its season Sept. 4 as the team plays host to Maur Hill-Mount Academy.