ORFODRVILLE—After spending 23 years at Janesville Parker, Joe Flister decided to see what life could be like in his second home.
Flister, who played for Parker then spent more than two decades as an assistant coach there, was hired by Parkview/Albany to take over the football program from veteran coach Bob Meyers.
“My in-laws live in Ofordville and I have quite a few friends there,” Fiister said. “I was a volunteer fireman in Footville for many years, so I know that community very well, andit feels like a second home. Everyone over there has been very supportive so far.”
Facing declining numbers, the Vikings recently partnered with Albany to give the program the opportunity to stay an 11-man program. Flister said the co-op, which finished 2-5 in the spring season, is a reason for optimism.
“We actually had our first parent meeting Monday night, and it went really well,” Flister said. “We had a number of kids and their families show up to sign up, and the athletic director and everyone over at Albany has been great to work with. Albany is definitely a huge part of this program being a successful one.”
Flister said that while it was difficult leaving his alma mater, the chance to be a head coach was too hard to pass up.
“It’s a little bittersweet to leave, no question,’ Flister said. “I still have a lot of friends at Parker, including the head coach, Clayton Kreger. He’s been really helpful in this entire process and knew my aspirations to be a head coach. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I wish Clayton and Parker nothing but the best moving forward.”
Flister was just recently named head coach, and now has just over two weeks to get his system in place. It’s not an ideal timeline, but it’s one Flister is embracing.
“I’ve watched some film of the team from last year, but I’m going to bring in my own system,” Flister said. “My plate has been full for the last couple of days, but Bob has been great in making the transition smoother and letting me know how he left things, and I really appreciate him for doing that.”
While not divulging the specifics of his system, Flister said it’s important for the program to get back to basics.
“We need to do things the right way in terms of fundamentals,” Flister said. “We will strive to do that from the varsity level on down to the middle school and the youth program. We’ll teach technique and have a lot of instruction brought to the program. I’ve talked to several of the athletes, and they are very excited about getting a new start.”
That new start is getting going right away.
“We have a short window to work with, but it’s doable,” Flister said. “Even though there’s a lot to be done, (Parkview AD) Guy Stricker has provided me with everything I’ve asked. It’s been very refreshing. We’ve got a camp scheduled for next week, so we’ll use up our contact days, take a week off and then hit the ground running.”
The Vikings will open the 2021 season August 20 at Johnson Creek.