As a high school football coach in the Tampa, Florida, area, Max Warner got to know scores of college recruiters from around the country.
“In spring football, we’d have more than a hundred schools come to Florida to recruit our players,” he said.
One of the relationships he formed, with then-Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, has led Warner to an opportunity to return to college football.
Two days after Loeffler became the 20th head coach at Division I Football Bowl Subdivision Bowling Green in Ohio on Nov. 28, Warner accepted the job as Loeffler’s quarterbacks coach.
“It’s been a crazy month,” said Warner, a Crystal Lake South graduate. “It all happened very fast. You’ve got to hit the ground running recruiting-wise.”
Warner spent the past three seasons as the head coach at Bloomingdale High School in Brandon, Florida. He first met Loeffler during Warner’s stint as offensive coordinator at Hillsborough High School in Tampa, from 2011 to 2014. Loeffler was recruiting Hillsborough quarterback Dwayne Lawson, and the two coaches struck up a bond.
“We would get together and talk football, and through that (recruiting) process, we developed a relationship.”
Warner served as Virginia Tech’s offensive quality control assistant in 2015 under Loeffler, who was the Hokies’ offensive coordinator.
After that season and the retirement of longtime Tech coach Frank Beamer, Warner returned to Florida as a head coach.
In three seasons at Bloomingdale, he guided the team to the playoffs twice. Before the 34-year-old Warner’s arrival, the school had only been to the state playoffs two other times.
“It was going to take a special job to leave Bloomingdale,” he said. “I wasn’t really looking the past few years to get back into college. Coming to Bloomingdale was a career move for me. I wasn’t looking on FootballScoop.com every offseason for jobs like I had been earlier in my career.”
Warner spent time at three schools at the NCAA Division II and Division III levels.
Loeffler’s career spans stops at seven FBS programs and a year coaching quarterbacks with the NFL’s Detroit Lions.
“His reputation as a quarterback developer is terrific,” Warner said. “I’m definitely excited.”
Warner played quarterback at South and in college for three years at D-III Millikin University in central Illinois.
“The quarterback is that field general, that leader,” he said. “There’s only one of them. There’s a responsibility that comes with the position. You’re a leader of men. That’s what I’ve tried to embody in my career.”
Fanter rules CCAC: Crystal Lake South grad Chanel Fanter was chosen Wednesday as the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week in women’s basketball.
Fanter, a junior guard/forward at NAIA St. Xavier in Chicago, scored a career-high 31 points last weekend in a 79-73 victory against Huntington (Indiana). She averaged 24.5 points a game while leading her team to the championship of the SXU Holiday Classic.
For the season, she is leading the Cougars in scoring and rebounding with averages of 19.6 points and 9.1 rebounds.
On Thursday, No. 21 SXU (13-3) extended its winning streak to 10 games in a row by beating 16th-ranked Indiana Wesleyan, 85-74. Fanter had 19 points, five assists and four rebounds.
High honors for Mascarella: St. John’s senior catcher Wyatt Mascarella was one of a league-high four Red Storm players to be chosen preseason All-Big East by league coaches last month.
Mascarella (Cary-Grove) helped St. John’s win its ninth Big East title in school history last season by batting .340 with five homers and 29 RBIs, along with a team-best .535 slugging percentage.
St. John’s also was chosen by league coaches to win the 2019 Big East title in the preseason poll. The team opens its season Feb. 15 with a three-game series at UCLA.
ISU’s McKnight recognized: Crystal Lake Central grad Romeo McKnight, a defensive end at Illinois State, was honored Dec. 18 as a member of the HERO Sports Football Championship Subdivision Sophomore All-America team.
McKnight earned a spot on the first team after leading the Redbirds in sacks (three), tackles for loss (nine) and quarterback hurries (11). He had 47 tackles in his first season with the team after transferring from the University of Iowa.
• Barry Bottino writes a weekly column about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @BarryOnCampus on Twitter.