Jack is Back: Cornell named QND football coach - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Jack is Back: Cornell named QND football coach

Jack Cornell (left) will replace his mentor Bill Connell (right) as QND football coach this fall. Jack Cornell (left) will replace his mentor Bill Connell (right) as QND football coach this fall.

QUINCY, IL. (WGEM) -- Jack Cornell is back where it started.

His home away from home.

Now in charge of the Quincy Notre Dame football program.

"This program is a very special program to so many people, (and) this school is a special school to so many people, and to be standing in front of our team today for the first time means everything to me," Cornell, a 2006 QND alum, said.

Cornell circled back to his roots following a collegiate career at the University of Illinois, a two-year run in the NFL, which included winning a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013, and his first full-time coaching role as offensive line coach at Culver-Stockton last fall.

Cornell is ready to hit the ground running in a role he plans to maintain for a long time.

"It's all about winning championships and that's what you want to strive to be as a player (and) as a team," he said.

"We have great young men that have championship character. They understand the way that we do things here because of what Bill Connell has done."

Cornell is taking over for his former high school head coach. Bill Connell's super successful 26-year, and 186-win, run came to an end when he stepped down in January.

Connell says his former offensive tackle is the right choice to keep the program moving in the right direction.

"He's going to bring a lot of excitement, a lot of enthusiasm, (and) some new ideas," Connell explained.

"He may use some of the same old plays (and) he might bring some new plays, but that's for him to determine. We believe 100 percent that he's our guy."

Cornell praised Connell for setting the standard for all future Raiders' teams to follow.

"He instilled the passion and the burning desire of this football team, and this school, to me at a very young age," Cornell said.

"To have the chance to perpetuate that for the next generation of Raiders is special."

Cornell met with his players a half hour before his Tuesday morning press conference began, and junior lineman Jonny Bottorff came away from the meeting feeling like a December holiday had come early.

"The way I describe it, it's like Christmas morning. A guy like that walks in and it's like opening the best gift that you wanted all year. He's perfect," Bottorff said.

"I think it's pretty much who all of us wanted (as head coach) as a team. It's kind of the perfect set up."

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