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Normal West Chooses New Football Coach

Unit 5
New Normal West head football coach Nathan Fincham.

Normal West high school's new head football coach isn't so new.

Nathan Fincham served as an assistant coach for 11 seasons. Fincham has also been teaching science classes for six years.

In a statement Friday, Fincham gave thanks to former Head Coach Darren Hess, who resigned late last year, for the program he built.

“I am beyond excited about the opportunity to be the next head football coach at Normal (Community) West High School. I would like to thank (Athletic Director Stan) Lewis and (Principal Dave) Johnson for trusting in my vision of developing the character and culture of the West Football program. Normal West is a great school, with outstanding staff and students," Fincham said.

A committee made up of football players, parents and other coaches helped choose Fincham. His appointment is pending the Unit 5 school board's approval, which is expected at its Wednesday meeting.

Hess resigned as head coach Dec. 20 after 15 years and with a 96-56 record, calling the decision “not easy … but one that I came to after much reflection.”

Hess' departure was controversial. In the weeks before Hess’ resignation, there were concerns raised about how Normal West’s Gridiron Club boosters group spent its money—specifically whether money was improperly given to Hess’ assistant coaches. Any payments made outside of the school district would potentially violate Illinois High School Association (IHSA) rules that require “all remuneration for high school athletic coaching must be from the Board of Education of the member school employing the coach.”

Hess said he couldn't talk about what happened at the time. Unit 5 officials also declined to say what was discussed at a closed-door school board session related to football in November.

"I would love to comment but based on an agreement I have reached with Unit 5, I cannot comment," Hess told GLT in an email.

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Baylee Steelman joined us in November 2016. She is a journalism major graduating in May 2018. She mainly covers Bloomington City and Normal Town Council meetings, Unit 5 School Board meetings, produces the weekend News In Review, and helps run GLT events. Baylee also produces and anchors at TV-10, Illinois State University's student TV news station.
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