Vienna, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 –Varsity football restarted in Johnson County after more than 75 years with an inaugural season in 2009 while under the leadership of Hall of Fame Coach Mike Rude.
Coach Rude lead the Vienna-Goreville Eagles to playoffs in 2012 and 2013, and brought home the first playoff victory in competition against Sesser-Valier.
Rude left the Vienna-Goreville program two seasons ago to establish a new football program at Morthland College near West Frankfort.
Rude will be returning to Johnson County as V-G’s head football coach as early as next week.
The Vienna High School board approved Rude’s hiring during tonight’s regular school board meeting.
In response to his return to Vienna-Goreville football coach Rude said that, “I was treated so well down here. The chance to come back here was a great opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to getting the program back to where we had it.”
Vienna High School superintendent Joshua Stafford was pleased at the recommendation by athletic director David Hill to bring Rude back on board. Stafford said, “Mike is clearly the most qualified candidate that we could have selected. He is a foundation block in the Johnson County high school football program and I am confident that he is the person that can motivate our student athletes to be successful not only on the field, but also in their academic pursuits.”
According to Vienna’s athletic director Hill, coach Rude will be substitute teaching in both Goreville and Vienna during the spring semester so that he can be available to students as he starts preparing for the upcoming season. Over the next few months coach Rude will also be working on selecting his coaching staff.
Hill also added, “Coach Rude is a known commodity not only in Johnson County, but also throughout the south. His experience and leadership bring exactly what the student athletes at both Goreville and Vienna really need.”
Goreville’s superintendent Steve Webb explained that, “We are excited to have coach Rude back and are looking forward to his leadership in our football program.”
Rude first came to Vienna High School on the heels of his retirement from a 37 year career as principal and head football coach at Johnson City High School. Former VHS superintendent Marleis Trover had been the person to hire him in Johnson City, and she quickly brought him on board to start a football program in Vienna.
“The football program here started on the front lawn of the high school. We had no equipment and no field,” Rude recalled.
After taking the Vienna-Goreville football team to the playoffs for the second time, Rude was offered the chance to start a football program at Morthland College.
“I had a very positive experience at Morthland College. It was totally different starting a program at the college level. Recruiting was the main portion of it. My first year I spent the majority of my time recruiting.”
After two years at the college level he decided the job was for a younger man with more time and energy to devote to recruiting.
Rude said of returning to Johnson County, “The timing was perfect really. The head coaching position for Vienna-Goreville was vacant. I love the program, the community and working with the kids here.”
Rude already has a plan in motion to return the V-G Eagles to dominance in the Black Diamond Conference.
“First thing we have to do is put together a staff. Then I have to go into the schools and recruit, just as I did on the college level. The two schools are big enough we should have more kids playing football. Then we’ll jump back into teaching the offensive and defensive system. We’ve got to get the kids into playing other sports and get them into the weight room. All the things you have to do to be successful” on the field, said Rude.
Rude plans to speak with both athletic directors to see what direction they want to go when it comes to selecting his staff.
“I’ll be relying on their input a lot,” he explained.
Despite being unable to attend a V-G game during his two years at the college level, he was still very knowledgable regarding the athletes at Vienna and Goreville, as well as other area schools, their current athletes and systems. He’s fast at work developing plans to face them on the field.