Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Haak follows in his father’s footsteps

Shane Haak, a 2008 Harvard High School graduate, has been around wrestling all of his life. Haak, is the son of Tim and Chris Haak, who both grew up in Woodstock. His father has coached wrestling at HHS since 1987 and was inducted into the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Hall of Fame in 2001. Now, the younger Haak has the opportunity to build his own legacy. He has been hired as the head wrestling coach at Woodstock North High School.

Haak said he is excited to have this opportunity to coach in a community he knows so well.

“Growing up in Harvard, Woodstock was so close, and my parents grew up in Woodstock, so I know about the WHS tradition,” Haak said. “I’ve always liked the community of Woodstock, and it was always in the back of my head as the place I wanted to be.”

WNHS athletic director Nic Kearfott said Haak was very impressive in his interviews, and he feels the school is lucky to have hired him.

“When he applied, we looked at a few candidates, and he obviously stuck out far and beyond the other candidates,” Kearfott said. “I think we got lucky and we have a jewel on our hands.

“He’s been around wrestling his entire life. He knows the sport. The thing I really like about him is how mature he is for his age. He’s already a mature coach. Obviously he has some things to work on, but he hasn’t been afraid to ask questions, and he’s taken the bull by the horns, and he’s run with it.”

Kearfott said he believes Haak will increase the participation in the wrestling program.

“His enthusiasm, his love for the sport is going to translate to the kids,” Kearfott said. “I’m excited.”

Haak, who wrestled for his father in high school, was an assistant coach at Monmouth Derosa High School for two years. Last winter, the school sent three wrestlers to the IHSA state tournament - the first time since 2002. During this past year, he had the opportunity to coach against his father.

His father is obviously proud of his son.

“Chris and I are very proud of him,” Tim said. “It’s a great opportunity for him, and I think he learned a lot at Monmouth Derosa. Now he has a chance to put his philosophy in a program.”

Shane Haak was busy this summer working with several WNHS wrestlers.

“We were just getting a few practices under our belts,” Haak said. “Getting to know each other and really just try[ing] to lay our foundation down and talk about our philosophy.”

Haak’s main goal for his team is simple: Improve every day.

Haak said he’s determined to, “Lay down a foundation. To really get a program together with our junior high and any other feeder programs coming in. I want to get everyone in our entire program on the same page. Once we do that, we can really start focusing on the athletes and getting them on the same page. Once that happens, we can really start to make some improvements.”

Haak is currently completing his student teaching requirements for Monmouth College, where he is studying physical education. Haak is student- teaching at Mary Endres Elementary School for the first eight weeks of the school year and then will be at WNHS for the next eight weeks. He said he is hoping this experience will help him in the future.

“My goal with student-teaching is to work hard and show what kind of teacher I am and the work ethic I have, along with the coaching skills,” Haak said. “I want to put myself in a position where, if they do have an opening down the road, I will be in the conversation.”