Davenport Assumption High School has turned to one of its alums to lead its boys’ soccer program.
Chad Hollmer, a member of Assumption’s 2002 and 2003 state championship squads, will replace Greg Zeller as the Knights’ coach.
Hollmer played for Zeller, who retired last spring after winning three state championships and compiling 292 wins in 27 years.
“I don’t know if you could ever really turn something down like this no matter the timing,” Hollmer said. “It is a big honor for me to follow him up after having the highly successful career he had here.
“It is one of those situations where everyone expects us to do well, so there is great pressure. I’m excited and it is a great opportunity to show what we can do.”
There will be no shortage of expectations.
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Assumption went 16-5 and captured an Iowa Class 1A state championship last spring. The Knights return a strong nucleus with seven starters, including leading scorer Roberto Medrano (22 goals), all-tournament team captain Sam Burkhart, center back Luke Klostermann and keeper Alex Milton.
The freshman class also has several players who could contribute immediately.
“I don’t know too many of the guys,” Hollmer said. “There are some big-time players on the team that can be great leaders, and obviously that helps.
“We’d like to get back to Assumption from years ago where we were competing for conference titles as well. If we do that, we’ll put ourselves in a good position when it comes time for state.”
Hollmer started his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the St. Ambrose University women's program in 2009. He has coached at Mount Mercy University, Clarke University and is in his third season as the St. Ambrose men's coach.
Hollmer has been around the high school ranks, too. He coached at Cedar Rapids Washington and spent the past two springs leading the Rock Island Alleman girls program.
“In reality, the transition is better,” Hollmer said. “We share the same facilities. I’m at the same facility and pretty much live here. So in terms of transportation and logistics, it is nice.
“Also, it plays hand-and-hand with Ambrose. I can see these guys play and also guys who are possibly a fit for the next level, so I can build relationships I could possibly use moving forward.”