Trading purple and white gear for brown and gold has caused some issues for Jason Enos.
From 2007 to 2010, Enos was a four-time all-conference offensive lineman in purple and white for NCAA Division II Winona (Minnesota) State, helping the team to 30 wins during that time.
This spring, he is across the state in Marshall, wearing brown and gold as the first-year defensive line coach for Southwest Minnesota State, a fellow member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
“I’m getting a lot of crap right now from my buddies I played with at Winona,” said Enos, a Crystal Lake South graduate. “I’m a Mustang now.”
Coaching was not something that was on Enos’ radar, he said, while starting for two seasons on the offensive line for the Wichita Wild, a Kansas-based indoor football team.
But two months after his playing career ended, Enos said his days included “too much cable TV and too many video games.”
He spent last season as the offensive line coach at NAIA Presentation College in South Dakota, where he coached two all-conference players. When he learned of the job at SMSU, his response was immediate.
“When this job opened up, I jumped on it right away,” he said. “This is probably the best conference in D-II football. We’ll be going to a lot of familiar places. When we go to St. Cloud or Bemidji or Winona, I’ll know where the best restaurants are.”
Enos, who got the job in March, got to know his lineman right away during spring practices in April.
“My favorite part is getting on the field and working with the kids,” he said. “I see myself in some of them, and I see guys I played with or coached with. I didn’t always see myself as a coach.”
Reverting to his home as a player has been helpful while coaching defense.
“I actually play O-line in the drills that we do,” he said. “It helps me see things myself from that perspective.”
Enos said seeing his players through an offensive lineman’s view allows him to help them make technique changes and improve their performance. Helping SMSU’s players on the field has not been Enos’ only contribution. This spring, a player called him to talk after a death in the athlete’s family.
“It’s nice to help them off the field, with school or their family life,” he said. “That’s been one of the most rewarding things. I still call my old offensive line coach at Winona.”
Enos is joining a Mustangs team that enjoyed a 7-5 record last season, its best since 1991, and only its third postseason berth in the program’s history.
“The message from [head coach Cory Sauter] has been, ‘We have to be better,’” Enos said. “It’s all about moving forward and outworking what you did last year.”
The Mustangs open the season Sept. 6 at the University of Mary. The schedule also includes a Nov. 8 game at Winona, where Enos will have some company from those same buddies who questioned his loyalty when he joined SMSU.
“They said they’re all going to be there,” he said. “I haven’t thought about that game much. I’m more focused on Sept. 6.”
Super shooter: Johnsburg grad Melissa Dixon put together a monster game last week in the Game Time Basketball League in North Liberty, Iowa. Dixon, who will be a senior guard this season at Iowa, scored 63 points and hit 13 three-pointers for her Westport Touchless Autowash/Monica’s and Bob’s Your Uncle team in a 97-71 victory against BlendCard.
Dixon, whose point total was a single-game best this summer, is averaging 51 points a game this season in the league for high school, college and professional players.
For the season, Dixon leads the league in scoring average and made three-pointers (19). Last season, Dixon started all 36 games for the Hawkeyes, hitting a single-season school-record 97 threes. She enters her senior season with 210 career threes, the fifth-highest total in school history.
Summer league all-star: Illinois State baseball player Greg Sidor (Jacobs) was chosen for this week’s Midwest Collegiate League All-Star Game.
Sidor, an infielder for the Chicago Zephyrs, has a double, a triple and six RBIs this season in summer league play. He was one of eight Zephyrs players chosen for the game, which was played at Oil City Stadium in Whiting, Indiana. Sidor’s North squad lost, 10-3, to the South stars.
• Barry Bottino writes a weekly column and a blog about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at BarryOnCampus@hotmail.com, check out his On Campus blog at McHenryCountySports.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryOnCampus.