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Successful Division III coordinator returning to alma mater as head coach

Knox College has hired Aaron Willits as its new head coach, the school announced Monday.

Willits is a 2008 Knox graduate who began coaching at his alma mater as running backs coach, offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator in 2009-10. He spent the past nine seasons as offensive coordinator, strength and conditioning coach, recruiting coordinator and equipment manager at Concordia College in Minnesota.

"It means so much in so many different ways for me to be returning to Knox. It means I have come full circle, and now get to invest in a football program and College that invested in me," said Willits. "I get to work alongside coaches and leaders that made a huge difference in my life, and now I can offer that exceptional experience to the next generation of student-athletes on and off the field.

"Coming back to Knox, and to this position, in particular, is a tremendous responsibility. I am truly honored, and ready to get to work. I want to thank Director of Athletics Daniella Irle, President Teresa Amott, and the entire search committee for allowing me the opportunity to present my vision for the future of the Knox College football program, as well as for their belief in my vision and ability to see it through."

Knox College is a Division III school in Gaelsburg, Ill. The Prairie Fire (elite nickname, btw) compete in the Midwest Conference and went 3-6 in 2019. Willits replaces Damon Tomeo, who was let go in November.

The Prairie Fire will play a 2-game spring schedule, with games on April 24 and May 1 before returning in earnest in the fall.

"One of the things that stood out to me was his understanding of the strengths of Knox, the priority we place on cultural competency, and how to create and implement a recruiting plan that encompasses those elements," AD Daniella Irle said. "He will develop a recruiting plan that will extend beyond the football program to complement other Prairie Fire teams and the College as a whole. I was also impressed with the relationships he developed with the student-athletes and staff he worked with at Concordia College (Minnesota), and in their surrounding community. Aaron is a team player, and will help us not only develop the football program, but the College and the athletics department as a whole."

With the move, every Division III job is filled at this time. Four programs changed head coaches in the 2020-21 season.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.