Growing up in Elgin, Brian Melvin dreamed of his hometown having a varsity football team.
Judson University has just completed its first season in NAIA football and Melvin, the head coach of Burlington Central for the past six seasons, will now be part of college football at Elgin.
Melvin told his Rockets players on Tuesday that he was stepping down to take up a position at Judson as associate head coach and director of football operations.
Melvin’s Burlington Central teams were 18-32 in his six years, though the last three came in the Fox Valley Conference, where the Rockets (1,209 registrants) are by far the smallest school. Prairie Ridge (1,338) was the second smallest this year, while most are several hundred larger than Burlington.
“All my life, all I ever wanted was for Elgin to have a varsity football team,” Melvin said. “They do now and I’m so passionate about Elgin’s sporting history that I just couldn’t pass it up. It’s literally all I’ve wanted since I was a kid.
“As a kid, I would sit outside and listen to the AP announcer at Memorial Stadium and act like I was an Elgin Maroon. I ended up going to Larkin. My first coaching job was in Elgin. I have to do it. It was such a tough decision.”
Melvin led the Rockets to 3-6 seasons in each of their last two full seasons in the FVC. They were 1-4 in the abbreviated 2021 spring season.
Yet in one of the best conferences in the state — the FVC sent four teams to the playoff quarterfinals last season and Cary-Grove won the Class 6A state title — Burlington Central competed.
Melvin tweeted his photo and a statement on Tuesday after speaking with the team. He will remain at Burlington Central as an advisor. He thanked the administration, board of education, custodial staff, parents, facilitators, players and staff. He felt like he was leaving the program in good shape.
“I will be most proud to leave this program with 110 children,” Melvin said. “I was averaging 50 or 60 a year. We kept pounding the pavement, my coaching staff built this great relationship with our next generation program. It took time, but we stayed the same length of time. wave.
“All of a sudden in the summer we have four levels of football and 110 kids on the program and not enough helmets. We were scrambling at the end of the summer trying to get helmets. It was just mad, mad, mad.”
Melvin said the fast-growing district of Burlington could mean it’s no longer the smallest team in the FVC.
Judson announced he would start a football team in 2018. Head coach Dan Papaczyk led the Eagles to a 4-7 season last fall.
“I wanted to stay, but this opportunity came up,” Melvin said. “My job is to come and help them build their culture. That’s what they asked me to do. That’s what I do really well. I hope that translates into academia. I am very humble.”