RANTOUL — Brett Frerichs is no longer the Rantoul boys’ basketball coach, with Eagles athletic director Travis Flesner confirming Friday that Frerichs resigned last month.
Frerichs stepped down from his role on Dec. 20 after four-plus seasons in charge during his second stint leading the Rantoul program. He was replaced by Ryan Parker, who’d been working as the junior varsity coach and oversaw the Eagles during their run in last week’s Taylorville Holiday Tournament.
“He didn’t think he’d be a benefit to the program for personal reasons,” Flesner said of Frerichs’ reasoning for moving on. “That was kind of where he left it. I didn’t prod too much into it.”
Frerichs was named the Rantoul boys’ coach in May 2015, less than two years after vacating the position due to a work conflict. Messages left seeking comment from Frerichs on Friday were not returned.
Results largely were positive early in Frerichs’ latest run with the Eagles. They won 23 games during the 2015-16 season and lost 58-57 to Mahomet-Seymour in a Class 3A regional championship game. Rantoul captured another 20 victories the following campaign.
But the Eagles have fallen on hard times of late, as they were sitting at 0-6 prior to Frerichs’ departure and are now 1-11 after Friday night’s 78-40 loss at Paxton-Buckley-Loda. Frerichs, a 1990 Rantoul graduate, posted a 110-101 record in his eight-plus seasons coaching Rantoul and led the Eagles to their last regional title in 2011 when Rantoul reached the Sweet 16 in 2A.
“I was relatively surprised that he would resign mid-season,” Flesner said. “I just had to move forward with that decision he made and see what we can accomplish moving forward.”
Flesner said the Rantoul Board of Education is slated to approve both Frerichs’ resignation and the appointment of Parker to permanent head coach at its next meeting on Jan. 13.
Parker is a 2005 Rantoul graduate who played four years of basketball at Rantoul and is in his ninth year as a coach in Rantoul’s program.
“I wouldn’t have said I knew for sure (Frerichs leaving) was happening,” Parker said. “I prepared for it like anything — just like you prepare for a game.
“When he did tell me, I didn’t really know how to feel about it at the time. But I’m definitely excited about the opportunity to coach these kids.”
Parker put his athletes on the right foot for the first time all season in just his third game directing the sideline. The Eagles knocked off Rochester 58-55 on Dec. 27 at Taylorville to snap an eight-game skid.
“I’m not going to take credit for that,” Parker said. “We finally started to play the way that we practice.”
Flesner noted that Rantoul coaching positions are one-year deals under the school’s collective bargaining agreement. As a result, Parker’s remaining outings in his first go-round as a head coach all are important to his future in this role.
“This is a good trial run for Ryan, to see if he has what it takes to be a head coach at the varsity level,” Flesner said, “and, to this point, I’ve been very pleased with all aspects.”
Parker isn’t worried about why lies beyond 2019-2020, saying as much Friday afternoon before he prepared for the nonconference tilt at PBL.
“When I played, there wasn’t a lot of success,” Parker said. “I want to have the success that we had in the 2010s and just make it even better.”