To the Editor:
Feb. 16 was an extraordinary night for the Kaneland community as Knights wrestling finished another successful season, sending three wrestlers to Champaign and returning home our first state champion in two decades. Congrats to the entire Knights wrestling program. We all know that in addition to individual commitment and effort, it takes a team to make a champion – players, parents, coaches, educators and community.
And while we are certainly proud of our Knight wrestlers, there is an unsung special Knight that deserves recognition – head coach, Monty Jahns.
Monty himself once stepped onto the mat in Champaign. The experience left him with the resolve to build a program that would inspire young men to test themselves in ways only wrestlers can. A program that retains players, creates unity, honors effort, forgives and is centered in pride – he’s done that with exacting integrity. Countless volunteer hours of planning, youth program development, practice, scouting, fundraising – even mat cleaning – have gone into the effort. Never looking for credit, Monty wanted to simply challenge and inspire his wrestlers and coaches to be their individual best. And they all respond.
In an era when it is easy to become distracted from the true mission of youth sports, Monty reminds us that coaches are more than just game-winners. In addition to technical expertise, the true coach is a community leader, educator and advocate. Selfless, tireless, open, ethical, truthful and most important – humble – with unwavering focus and attention to the personal development of each and every member of the team. He has set the standard for us all – parents, friends, educators, youth coaches, professionals and community members.
Coach Jahns is truly a special Knight.
Brian J. Wilk