Lake Forest College Director of Athletics Jackie Slaats announced Tuesday that Jim Catanzaro has officially been named the Foresters' head football coach. Catanzaro had been the program's interim head coach since April of 2009.
Under Catanzaro's direction, the 2011 Foresters scored more points and gained more yards per game than any previous team in program history. Twenty-three other school records were also set or tied during the season. Six players on the team earned First or Second Team All-Midwest Conference honors and one was also an All-West Region selecion by D3football.com. Catanzaro also served as a head coach at the All-American Bowl on December 17 and three Foresters participated in the senior all-star game.
Next year also looks bright for Lake Forest, as 25 players that started at least one contest last fall are eligible to return. Among them are a quarterback that holds seven school records, a running back that gained 1,169 yards from scrimmage in 2011, and a wide receiver that broke the single-season team record for touchdown receptions. The defense graduates just one of its top nine tacklers this May and is set to return all but two starters next year, including its leaders in sacks, tackles for loss, and interceptions.
"I'm very excited about the future of Forester football under Coach Catanzaro," states Slaats. "From a win/loss perspective, we are not yet where either of us want to be but are certainly headed in the right direction. In addition to the progress his team has made on the field, Coach Catanzaro's leadership and involvement on campus, emphasis on academic performance, interaction with parents and alumni, community service efforts, and overall support of Division III philosophies make him the right guy for the job. I look forward to having him continue his coaching career at Lake Forest College and trust he will build Forester Football into a consistent winner, both on and off the field."
"I am grateful for the confidence Coach Slaats and the search committee have shown in me," began Catanzaro. "During my time at Lake Forest, we have been able to develop a strong foundation for our future. Our players and coaches are committed to bringing a new level of success to Lake Forest College football and, as I told the interview committee, there is no place I would rather be than on the Forester sideline. The tradition of the College's athletic programs and support of the Forester community make this a truly special place and my wife and I are excited about remaining part of it. I look forward to continuing the development of our current student-athletes, recruiting the next generation of Foresters, and pursuing our program goals of a Midwest Conference championship and NCAA Playoff berth in the near future."