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Hampshire close, Harvard still working on football coaching hire

Hampshire athletic director David Hicks hopes his school’s head football coaching position may be filled by next week.

Harvard AD Matt Rife expects to have a new football and wrestling coach in place for the Hornets by April.

Those are the only two schools this offseason looking to fill their head coaching positions. Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh is retiring as a teacher and coach after 33 years at the school, 25 as head football coach.

“We have sent a recommendation to the district [300] office,” Hicks said. “They take over from there.”

The District 300 school board meets Monday and Hicks hopes the new coach is on the agenda for that meeting. He did not name candidates, but said there were three rounds of interviews.

The Whip-Purs were 6-4 last season as Cavanaugh finished his career at 121-122. It was their first playoff appearance since 2008.

Harvard’s Tim Haak also is retiring as teacher and coach after a career that put him in the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and in the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Hall of Fame.

Harvard’s football team was 11-1 and advanced to the Class 4A playoff quarterfinals. The Hornets wrestling team lost on Saturday in the Class 2A Dual Team Wrestling State Tournament.

“We hope to have both coaches hired at the April board meeting,” Rife said. “We have had some people apply for both positions. It could be the same person, we can’t tell yet.”

Rife said there were a higher number of applicants for the football job and that he has received applications from both internal and external candidates. Harvard has Haak’s physical education teaching position, along with chemistry and physics positions.

“I’m anxious to get someone hired,” Rife said.

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