Former Tiger Kirk Becker back home at Princeton

Becker joins Tigers staff as defensive line coach: “He fits the mold’

Kirk Becker, a 2003 PHS alum, huddles up with the Tiger coaching staff at the end of their mini-camp in June. Becker has joined the staff as defensive line coach.

Old Princeton Tigers can come home again.

Kirk Becker, a 2004 Princeton High School graduate and Tigers football alum, has joined Ryan Pearson’s Tigers coaching staff as defensive line coach. He will teach special ed at Princeton.

“We just sat down and talked. The job opened up at the high school that fit,” said Becker, who returned to Princeton last year to teach at Logan Junior High School. “I’m excited to be back with the program. I want to do whatever I can to help and support and win as many games as we can.

“Ryan’s done a great job with the program here, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

“I just want to surround myself with people that absolutely love Princeton and bleed Tiger blue. Kirk fits that mold.”

—  Ryan Pearson, Princeton coach

Pearson jumped on the chance to bring Becker on board.

“I just want to surround myself with people that absolutely love Princeton and bleed Tiger blue. Kirk fits that mold,” Pearson said. “He’s a very, very nice addition for us.”

Becker, who has helped out in the weight room over the summer, hasn’t gotten to see a lot of his linemen yet, but what he’s seen, he likes.

“We’ve got some strong kids. They seem to work hard,” he said.

Becker previously coached at Antioch (6A) and Winnetka New Trier (8A) high schools.

Tiger assistant RK Lunn will move from defensive line coach to tight ends coach, Pearson said.

An offensive and defensive lineman at PHS, Becker is a study of what hard work will do. Joe Ryan, his head coach at PHS, said in a 2004 story that Becker “was not a very good football player” as a freshman and sophomore and started his junior year at No. 4 on the depth chart.

“He came out of nowhere and literally made himself an all-state player by his senior year through hard work and a determination to be a great player,” Ryan said. “He’s been blessed with great size, but it was his determination that made it happen. Other big kids might say they want to be an all-stater, but he worked at it and did it.”

Becker was a junior on the 2002 Tigers team (11-2) that reached the Class 4A semifinals, falling on the road to eventual state champion Addison Driscoll 23-3.

As a senior, the No. 5-seeded Tigers went 6-4, dropping a Class 4A first-round playoff game at No. 4 Peotone 20-14 in Ryan’s final game as head coach. Becker was named IHSFCA 4A All-State, unanimous NCIC All-Conference and a BCR co-Player of the Year. Classmates from that team included Blake Pratt, Dustin Seidel, Joel Stocking and Steve Piper, who also earned BCR all-area honors.

“I had a great experience. It was fun going that far in the playoffs (in 2002),” Becker said. “My senior year, we had some injuries, but still had a pretty good year, went to the playoffs.”

Becker went on to play offensive line at Lake Forest College for his brother, Brent, “a great coach,” who is now head coach at Class 8A Lincolnshire Stevenson.

He is the third Princeton graduate on the Tigers’ staff along with Nick Vujanov and Lunn (’99). The staff also includes two former Bureau Valley players, Nathan Black and Patrick Smith, and a Hall Red Devil, Nick Lower.