The Benedictine University Football team welcomes two new assistant coaches this season, as Joe Freitag and Mark Halbach join Head Coach Jon Cooper's coaching staff.
Freitag joins the Eagles staff with an extensive coaching and playing background. He is a graduate of two successful football programs: Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield and of Monmouth College, where he played left tackle. After his playing career, he joined the coaching staff at Coe College as a graduate assistant and then later served as the team's defensive line coach and offensive line coach in separate years. He then served as the offensive line coach for Ausburg College before joining BenU's staff as offensive coordinator.
"I'm extremely excited," said Freitag on becoming the team's offensive coordinator. "We got some phenomenal athletes both with our returners and out first year guys. I'm really excited to work with them."
"With the staff that we have in place, I think we have some really good leadership in Coach Cooper and Coach Mitz helping me out on offense. I'll be able to lean on those guys pretty heavily and they'll be able to help me out."
Also joining this year's staff is Mark Halbach. Halbach spent the last two years at Illinois Wesleyan as a wide receivers coach and was the quarterbacks coach at Lakeland before that. His main duties on BenU's staff will be as quarterbacks coach and working with the offensive staff.
Halbach takes a different road to coaching college football, as it is his second career. He spent ten years in the manufacturing business and was a Plant Manager. While doing that, he coached youth football and work with high school players in camps at the University of Wisconsin. He decided to go back to college at Lakeland, where he coached while studying as an undergrad.
Despite being relatively new to the college coaching scene, Halbach believes he has the qualities it takes to coach college football.
"I bring a good perspective on what it takes to be a leader both on and off the field," Halbach said. A hard work ethic is important in coaches and player to continue to get better every day, and I think being committed and loyal has a lot to say about a person. Those are some values that I really have."
Halbach also knows that working with what is an experienced and successful Eagles coaching staff will help him grow as a coach.
"It's been a great learning experience in the last few weeks here," Halbach said. "I plan on continuing to learn as time goes on. It's really my job to soak up the knowledge that they are showing, and taking that and using it in my career as a young coach."