Jake Brosman accomplished a lot in his five seasons at Hampshire’s football coach, things that could not be measured simply by wins and losses.
The Whip-Purs’ losing streak reached 24 games in Brosman’s second season before a remarkable turnaround with a 5-1 COVID-19 spring season in 2021, followed by a Class 7A playoff appearance in the 2021 fall season.
Hampshire’s 1-8 mark last season also seemed a bit misleading. Two-year starting quarterback Tyler Fikis, who would have been one of the Fox Valley Conference’s most dynamic offensive players, moved out of state and the Whips suffered only two losses of more than 13 points. Four losses were by seven points or less.
All of which made Brosman a popular candidate to Plainfield South athletic director Chet Lines, who liked everything he heard from Hampshire people about Brosman.
Brosman announced on Twitter on Friday that he was leaving Hampshire to become the Cougars’ new head coach. His family – wife Megan, daughter Izzy (10) and son Mason (8) – was the key factor in his decision.
“The big thing is my family is all from central Illinois and my kids are getting older and getting into sports,” Brosman said. “So it was getting a little closer to family to make the travel to come see them in sports and everything will be a little easier.
“It was an extremely tough decision. The kids, the faculty, all the coaches I’ve worked with, everything I love at Hampshire. As far as the coaching and everything it was a super tough decision, but thinking about doing what’s right for my kids and family made it a little easier. It’s definitely was a tough decision to leave a great school a great community, great kids and great coaches.”
Jake and Megan Brosman’s families both live near the Dunlap area, so they will now be about 90 minutes closer. Brosman said that cuts the trip they now make just about in half.
Brosman was 13-30 in his five seasons and was selected Northwest Herald Football Coach of the Year for the spring 2021 season.
“What I really liked Jake was, No. 1: Every person I called about him raved about how good of a teacher he was; No. 2: They preached about his relationships with the kids; and No. 3: It was never about his ego,” Lines said. “Those were three things that stood out to me. I love the fact that he’s grown that program. They had low numbers when he came in and he had close to 150 kids by the time he left. We’re in a position where we’re competing for conference championships in our division every year.”
Brosman takes over a program that was 32-29 in seven seasons under former coach Bill Bicker, who will be South’s assistant principal next year. The Cougars were 6-4 last season and won the Southwest Prairie Conference East Division. They lost to eventual state champion Loyola in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs.
“I do know he’s from central Illinois and this gets him about 90 minutes closer to home. It makes it easier for his folks to see him coach. It’s a good move for him and a loss for Hampshire.”— Mike Sitter, Hampshire athletic director
Lines said the hiring process took longer because current South principal Bob Yanello is retiring and his replacement needed to be in the hiring process of the new coach. When Lisa Smith, an associate principal at South, was hired to be principal, Lines then held interviews for the new coach.
Brosman will teach math at South just like he does at Hampshire. Brosman was Hampshire AD Mike Sitter’s first coaching hire.
“I’ve grown close to him and his wife Megan and their kids,” Sitter said. “I do know he’s from central Illinois and this gets him about 90 minutes closer to home. It makes it easier for his folks to see him coach. It’s a good move for him and a loss for Hampshire.”
Sitter is grateful for what Brosman did with the program. The Whips had 145 players in the program for four grades last season.
“Jake has a great ability to bond individually with each athlete,” Sitter said. “At the end of the season he has a sit-down meeting with every athlete and talks with them about academics and their goals in life beyond high school and really gets to know each athlete on a personal level.”
Lines said he could tell that Hampshire was sad that Brosman is leaving.
“He’s a teacher and a leader of young men and I’m really excited about it,” Lines said. “The conversations I had with people up there, they seem really disappointed they were losing him and they were very gracious. They couldn’t glow more about the impact he’s had there. I have a feeling this is going to b a great fit and I look forward to seeing him grow with our program. This is a big one for us.”
Lines said Brosman got in later than some candidates in the process, but that they hit it off right away.
“I got a good feel for Jake. We had a nice lengthy conversation. I liked what he had to say,” Lines said. “It’s not going to be the same path he had to take at Hampshire. We’re in a good spot. We made the playoffs, we ran into a buzzsaw because we played Loyola.
“Coach Bicker’s still in the building and still has a lot of influence in the building. I viewed Jake as somebody who can take what we have and continue to build upon it.”
Brosman assured his players, when he spoke to them, that he was proud about turning things around and this move was strictly based on his family. Hampshire was his first head coaching position.
“It was a great experience. It was fun. The kids took to everything we did at Hampshire,” Brosman said. “They really put the hard effort in to put the program in a great place. That’s one thing I can take away with taking another job, I know I’m leaving it in a good place and whoever steps in and takes that job is going to have something good to build on.
“It’s just a move that’s good for my family. It gets my kids closer to their grandparents. They were awesome with it. They were understanding. We have great kids at Hampshire.”