On Oct. 25, the Unit 4 Board of Education approved one administrative appointment when Bill Behrends was named Assistant Principal at Champaign Centennial High School. Behrends has officially resigned from his teaching and coaching positions at Mattoon High School. His last day is Nov. 5, and he will begin his administrative duties on Nov. 8.

Behrends has been the boys’ varsity golf coach for the last two seasons but previously spent 10 years as the assistant coach to Bob Lockart. Behrends also coached boys basketball for five years and boys tennis for two years during his tenure in the Mattoon school district. 

When looking ahead, it appears that Behrends’ coaching days are done for now. 

“I have very mixed emotions right now,” said Behrends. “I am really excited for this opportunity and feel that I can make a positive impact at Centennial.  However, I am going to miss coaching.  I love sports and love the interactions with the kids.  I also love watching the players learn, grow, and succeed.  Needless to say, my life as a coach will be greatly missed.”

Behrends said that the administration at Champaign Centennial dropped a hint in August about an anticipated vacancy for next school year and that they wanted him to fill it. The timeline accelerated a few weeks ago when an administrator took a new position beginning at the end of October.  Unit 4 leadership reached out to him and said he was their priority candidate, so he decided to strongly consider the opportunity.

Behrends said that he will miss the great people he has worked with over the years. 

“The thing I will miss most about Mattoon is the people,” said Behrends. “In a lot of ways, Mattoon is and always will be home.  Some of the most meaningful relationships and experiences I have ever had have come from Mattoon.”

As a coach, Behrends has coached the last two Apollo Conference medalist winners in Steward Druin and Madden Johnson. Mattoon is also the reigning Apollo Conference champions both years too. In 2020, Mattoon was an unofficial state qualifier as a team and won the Regional Championship. This past year, Mattoon was 10-1 in dual matches. 

The next coach will inherit both Druin, Johnson, and state qualifier Blaine Powers for next fall. Behrends said that the kids were by far the best part of coaching at MHS. 

“The thing I will miss the most is the kids,” said Behrends. “Even though they don’t realize it, they make an even greater impact on me than I do on them.  I am a better person because of the time I spend with them as athletes and individuals.  I cried when I told them I was leaving.”