EAST MOLINE — In November, United Township football coach Jim DuPage announced his resignation. After nearly five months, that position has been filled.
Following its school board meeting on Monday, UT announced Nick Welch will take over the program and be a social studies teacher at UTHS.
Welch spent the last two years working as a social studies teacher and offensive coordinator at Sherrard. The three years prior, Welch was at Plainfield North as an assistant coach. He was also an assistant at Pleasant Valley during his student-teaching while at Augustana.
"From the time I decided I wanted to be a teacher I also wanted to be a head coach," Welch said. "After six years as an assistant, I thought it was time."
Welch takes over a UT program that has won just nine games in the last seven seasons and has lost 33 consecutive Western Big Six Conference games. Welch does not care about those numbers.
The 28-year-old Oswego High School and Augustana College graduate said the word "can't" is not in his vocabulary.
"(Superintendent) Dr. (Jay) Morrow took me out to Soule Bowl and we looked around the facilities and talked about the program," Welch said. "He told me the cupboard is not bare and there are athletes. This is a school of 1,800 students, it is my job to get in the halls and find those athletes.
"I have talked to people in the hallways at UT and all I have heard is it can be done. I know it will be hard, but the best things in life never come easy. It will take time and it will take a buy-in from my coaching staff and then the kids."
Welch is a big believer in making football fun and feels that is a big part of building the program.
"I will first tell the kids that having the most fun is when you win," he said. "We will do things to make it fun in practices and in team building. In the end, we must make sure the players enjoy their experience and trust me. If all I do is build a winning team, then I didn't do my job. I want them to understand that football can do a lot for you as an individual."