By STEW SALOWITZ '76
Quick to point out that topping the victory total among Titan football coaches is much more than a one-man accomplishment, Norm Eash lavishes credit to the hundreds of players as well as his assistant coaches. Following in Eash’s footsteps, many of those players and coaches have gone on to prestigious head coaching positions at other colleges and high schools.
Among them is Rob Zvonar ’94, who as head coach at Frankfort (Ill.) Lincoln-Way East High School led his teams to the 2005 Class 8A state championship and a second-place finish in Class 7A in 2012.
Having spent 20 years in the coaching profession himself, Zvonar appreciates the fact that Eash has a “relentless work ethic” and passion for the game. “I know that 16- to 18-hour workdays are typical for him, often being seen at the Shirk Center before 5 a.m. and still in his office well after 10 at night.”
Zvonar, a three-time all-conference linebacker and two-time team captain, knows from experience that achieving longevity in the coaching profession has become increasingly more difficult throughout the years.
“Coach Eash not only has accomplished that,” says Zvonar, “but his career has really been marked by longevity with excellence as year in and year out Illinois Wesleyan football has competed at the top or near the top of the conference and is a regular in the national rankings.”
Zvonar points to a quote of Eash’s that he will use himself for his team on a regular basis: “Inspect what you expect.”
The alumni coaching tree stemming from Eash has produced a number of high school head and assistant coaches, including Tom Monken (assistant at Casey-Westfield, Ill.), Howard Rub ’93 (head coach at Astoria, Ore., HS).
Among Eash’s coaching assistants who have moved into coaching titles elsewhere are J.B. Wells (Endicott), Jim Collins (Saginaw Valley State), Jared Williamson (Robert Morris-Chicago) as well as IWU alums Mike Murray ’84 (former head coach at Dubuque and Benedictine, now defensive coordinator at North Central) and Jeff Fisher ’93 (Lindenwood-Belleville, Ill).