Jim Preston takes over boys basketball team; Jon Schlemmer replaces King in football
Two new eras officially started for Sterling High School sports on Wednesday.
The Sterling School Board approved the hiring of Jim Preston as the new boys basketball coach and Jon Schlemmer as the new head football coach.
Preston, a government and sociology teacher at Sterling, replaces Ryan Brown, whose teaching position was cut by the school district in March.
Preston has been an assistant coach in both the boys and the girls programs during his tenure at Sterling. He also was once the head tennis coach and freshman football coach.
“Jim is just a guy that coach anything,” Sterling Athletic Director Greg King said. “He’s one of those people that can relate to kids so well, and they respond really well to him.”
A phone message to Preston was not returned before press time.
Schlemmer replaces King, whose resignation was accepted at the meeting. King, who will remain the athletic director, cited the desire to spend more time with his family as one of the reasons for leaving the position.
“It’s sort of bittersweet for me, because I’ve looked up to Greg as my mentor,” Schlemmer said. “He’s leaving for a good reason, and I am very excited to get this chance.
“This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was little boy. My father was a coach, and I really looked up to my high school coach. I wanted to have this chance to coach a program with this kind of tradition. I didn’t necessarily think it’d come this fast, but I am really humbled to have the opportunity.”
Schlemmer, 28, teaches driver’s education and health. He has been the defensive coordinator at Sterling the last 5 years.
He went to Eastern Illinois University after playing baseball at Illinios Central College. He grew up in Metamora and played under Pat Ryan for the Redbirds.
“I viewed Jon as the same kind of assistant coach that I was Rock Island,” King said. “He was a guy from the start that I kept heaping more responsibility on, and he kept wanting to have more.”
Schlemmer anticipates keeping the schemes similar on both sides of the ball, but said he will adjust to the skill set of his players.
Sterling has gone to the playoffs 10 consecutive seasons.
Both candidates having positions within the district was a plus.
“They both were far-and-away the best candidates,” King said. “But things are different from 10 years ago. With the economy being what it is, no one is jumping around from job to job.”
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