Brian Iossi always has been consumed by football, even before he played at Glenbard North, then Illinois College and North Central College.
Coaching was pretty much Iossi’s destiny.
“I was the kid in middle school and high school where all my homework had plays drawn around it and schemes,” Iossi said. “My teachers always saw football plays on the corner of my papers. I grew up in a football family, my wife (Kristen) was a cheerleader. We like to say we’re the prototypical football TV-show family. It’s something I’ve always wanted.”
And now Iossi has received his first high school head coaching job at Burlington Central. The District 301 school board finalized Iossi as head coach for the football program and teacher in the Wellness Department [health, driver education and physical education].
Iossi served on former coach Brian Melvin’s staff for four seasons. Melvin resigned in January to take a position as associate head coach and director of football operations at NAIA Judson University in Elgin.
Iossi’s official hiring came late in the year because the district wanted to have a teaching position available.
“Our ultimate goal in the 10 years we’ve been there is to have all the head coaches in the building,” Burlington Central outgoing athletic director Steve Diversey said. “We wanted to be sure we had a position to bring in the next coach. That was where the delay came in. Brian’s been great, ever since Melvin resigned, at spearheading and organizing the weight room and all the offseason stuff. He was kind of pseudo-interim coach to keep us rolling.”
Diversey is leaving for the job of assistant principal of athletics, activities and operations at Rich Township and was on vacation when principal Chris Testone made the hire. But he sees Iossi taking over as a smooth transition.
“They liked his plan and vision coming in,” Diversey said. “They liked what he said he had to do to bring Central football to the next level. Brian brings ties to the community, he lives in the district now, his son plays through the Panthers, so it’s going to bring a lot of camaraderie through our feeders, so that will get Central on the roll.”
Brian and Kristen Iossi moved to Burlington last year with their son Cade (7) and daughter Raeghan (5). Before joining Melvin’s staff at Burlington Central four years ago, Iossi was on Hampshire’s staff with former coach Mike Brasile for four years. When Brasile left for the job at Woodstock, his alma mater, Iossi joined Melvin with the Rockets.
Iossi, who played offensive line during his career, worked as quality control coordinator for one year and as offensive coordinator the last three seasons. The Rockets finished 3-6 in 2019 and 2021, the last two full seasons of IHSA football.
“[Being a head coach] is something I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school,” Iossi said. “I’ve interviewed for a couple of positions over the years, nothing I really thought was something I was going to end up doing, but more or less getting some experience interviewing.
“I put myself in places that allowed me to grow as a coach. A lot of head coaches I worked for that I’m thankful for their mentorship and everything they taught me.”
Iossi likes what the Rockets have done in the FVC, which had produced a state champion four of the past five full seasons and a runner-up in the other year.
“I felt like we were trending in the right direction the last couple years,” Iossi said. “We played Cary-Grove a close game (a 28-20 loss) in that spring season. Our numbers are up tremendously the four years I’ve been here. That’s why I moved my family into this town because we started hanging out with people around town and saw where this school was heading and we liked it as a family.
“It’s an opportunity for sure. It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be a challenge every day. But it’s something that I felt like we were trending in the right direction and something I wanted to be a part of.”
The Rockets started their summer practices Monday after weeks of weight lifting since school was finished.
“I had been planning for if I did get it to be all set up with everything,” Iossi said.