Venturi Goes Back to Work

By WEEK Sports

September 22, 2010 Updated Sep 22, 2010 at 11:05 PM CDT

The first retirement usually doesn't take for the all-time greats like Michael Jordan, Ryne Sandberg, and for Brett Favre, the first three didn't take.
Well, the same goes for former Washington head football Coach John Venturi, who's changed team colors, but not his allegiance to football.
John Venturi's gone from being sidelined to back on the sidelines. Venturi retired after 20 years as Washington head coach back in 1998, but never really turned his back on the game.
"I've stayed in it, I've dabbled in it doing some play by play, not play by play, but color for the Peoria Pirates and high school football the last 12 years," Venturi said. "I was approached by the A-D, Greg Prichard, about coaching and I told him I wasn't interested in doing that full-time."
Venturi, who won a state title with Washington in 1985, got a call earlier this year from new Morton head coach Jason Thiery, and the Pekin alum jumped at the chance to wear a whistle again.
" Well, I've hit all the big schools except E-P, having played at Pekin and many, many years and a great experience at Washington and just glad to be back in it and again helping in a small way. I'm just enjoying being with the kids, and it's about being with the kids not so much as what school it is."
"We welcome his experience," said Morton head football coach Jason Thiry. "There seem to be a lot of coaches from Coach Venturi's era who are helping around the area, and I think they just want to give back to the younger coaches with some of the experiences they had when they were coaching and give them to us. We welcome his help."
Many teacher contracts make early retirement lucrative for men like John Venturi. He couldn't turn his back on that, and it turns out, he couldn't turn his back on football either.
"Even though the game has changed significantly with the spreads and more of the emphasis on the passing game, football is still football. It's still blocking and tackling, it's executing, it's also a little bit of x's and o's too. Some of the things we did back in our golden years still work these days."
"Football coaching is about coaching players, it's not about coaching uniforms, and that's the fun part of it, being with the kids again. Actually, they're all kids, whether it's the players , assistant coaches or coaches when you get to be my age."

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