A Familiar Face: Forrest takes over Danville football

After B.J. Luke retires, longtime assistant/former player follows his footsteps

DANVILLE (WCIA) -- Marcus Forrest knows Danville Football better than almost anyone, so it's only fitting the former Vikings player is getting a shot to take over the program.

Forrest played two years for the Vikings before transferring to Waubonsie Valley, where he was coached by another Danville native, B.J. Luke. After playing running back at Vanderbilt in college, Forrest spent nearly a decade on the sidelines as an assistant for Luke. After the Hall of Famer resigned his post after last season, Forrest was awarded the job.

"It's a lot different, even from the start of waking up in the mornings," Forrest said. "Before, I would wake up right on time, go to practice. Now, the last two days, four o'clock, five o'clock, six o'clock, I'm up thinking about things." 

There's plenty for Forrest to think about as he takes over a team that went 8-3 last year, breaking a four-year-long postseason drought.

"I think we have a chance to be pretty good as long as they can kind of focus and work hard, put everything together," he said.

But Forrest has a much bigger vision that just continuing the Vikings' success on the field. He also aims to get the Danville community excited about his program. 

"Coach pointed out before the season, he let us watch our failing years and told us to look at the audience, and he predicted that the whole stands were going to be filled up," Danville senior lineman Justin Moultrie said. "There's a whole lot of people who like football and want to see the program succeed."

"I think he and the younger coaches on the staff bring a different energy that we haven't had in the past or that we struggled to have in the past," Danville senior kicker Caleb Griffin added.

Good energy and attitude for a first-time head coach who's career has come full circle.

"I'm excited about being here," said Forrest. "Being able to be in your hometown and be homegrown and be able to come here and coach and interact with the kids, I'm loving that." 

The Vikings open their 2017 season at Kankakee Aug. 25.


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