Varsity Coaches

Darren Hess | Head Coach

Coach Darren Hess has been the Head Coach at West since 2003. Prior to West, Hess was on the staff at Normal Community (Defensive Coordinator), Leroy High School (Defensive Coordinator) and Central Catholic (Offensive and Defensive Line). He also was an Assistant Coach at both Quincy University and Eureka College. A graduate of Quincy University where he was an All Conference Defensive End, Coach Hess currently teaches Social Studies at Normal West. Darren and his wife Pam have two children: Kylee and Levi.

Kevin Braucht

Since joining the staff in 2005, Coach Braucht has served as the team’s Offensive Coordinator. Before coming to West, Coach Braucht spent time at University High School (Offensive Coordinator), Tri-Valley High School (Head Freshman Coach), Heyworth High School (Offensive Coordinator) and Central Catholic (Head Freshman & JV Coach). He currently owns and operates Drive Appraisal, LLC as a Certified Real Estate Appraiser. Kevin and his wife Angie have two daughters: Caroline and Sydney.

Duane Thoennes

Following his graduation from Illinois State University, Coach Thoennes began his coaching career in 1989 at LeRoy High School. He served as the line coach for their State Championship team in 1996 and defensive coordinator on their runner up team in 2001. In 2003, Thoennes joined the West staff as defensive and offensive line coach. He also served as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2007 & 2008. In addition, Thoennes has been a guest coach focusing on defensive line play at The Midwest Lineman’s Camp at IWU since 2002. He currently teaches Math and Science at Parkside Junior High where he also serves as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Huddle Coach. Duane and his wife Kary Beth have two children: Caity and Kyle.

Kyle Myers

Coach Myers has been a part of Normal West Football since the early years of Coach Baker.  A 2004 graduate of Normal West, Coach Myers played 4 seasons, the final season being the first year Coach Hess was at Normal West.  He came back to West as a coach in 2007 as a Freshmen WR/DB coach.  Since then he has held multiple position throughout all 3 levels at West.  He currently serves as the JV Offensive Coordinator, and Coach Myers handles most of the administrative tasks for the entire program.  Coach Myers currently works at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Normal as the Director of Sales & Marketing.  When not coaching football he spends time with his soon to be wife, Mandy, and their two dogs Zoe & Teddy

Nathan Fincham

Coach Fincham started with the Wildcat staff in 2007.  He was the JV head coach & JV offensive coordinator from 2007 to 2014.  In 2010, he served as the running backs coach.  Since 2011, he has been the varsity wide receivers coach.  Coach Fincham is also the varsity outside linebacker coach and varsity special teams coordinator.  Originally from Colfax/Ridgeview High School (2002).  Nathan graduated from Aurora University in 2006, where he played football and received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology.  He has his Master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction from American College of Education.   He is currently a teacher at Normal West, teaching Biology and Earth & Space Science.  Nathan lives in Normal with his wife Destini and his sons Brock and Logan.  

Marc Delaere

Marc  DeLaere joins the coaching staff in 2013 coming from Illinois Wesleyan University where he spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach working with the defensive backs.  He will be the defensive coordinator for the Varsity team.  Marc has taught high school science and coached football in the area since 2001.  He has also coached high school basketball and track.  Marc has bachelor degrees from both Northern Iowa (BS Science, 1995) and Illinois State (BA Geography Ed., 2000) and a master’s degree from Georgia Southern (MS Kinesiology, 2011). He and his wife Robin are parents of a son, Torin (10) and daughter Taylor (8).  Marc is also the owner and operator of Symmetry Sports Performance where he extends his passion for teaching athletes the path to success through sport by offering mental coaching and leadership development lessons.  

Jared O'Brien

Jared O’Brien is a Graduate Assistant for the Normal West Varsity team. He began assisting at Wildcat football and baseball practices/games as a sophomore at Normal West high school. Jared graduated from Normal West in 2004. This year will be his 16th season assisting the football program. Jared is being inducted into the Normal West Wall of Fame this year for his dedication to the Normal West Football and Baseball programs.

Dustin Cassidy

Coach Cassady has been with Normal West since 2015.  He is currently the varsity defensive line coach.  A graduate of Lake Forrest College where he was a 4 year starter and 2 year all-conference defensive lineman.  He’s currently the Pastor of IT at Eastview Christian Church.  Dustin and his wife Brenna have five children: Colton, Carson, Camdon, Cayson and Chloe.  

Donnie Jackson

Coach Jackson attended to Normal Community High School and played linebacker/running back on the 2006 state championship team.  He also coached and was the defensive coordinator in JFL with the Twin City Rebels for 6 yrs.  Coach Jackson played semi pro football with the Twin City Dawgs for 6 yrs and Twin City Jets 8 man semi pro team as well.   He also coached 8 man semi pro with the McDonough County Roughnecks this past season.  Donnie studied business management and human behavior sciences at Blackhawk college and Heartland community college. He enjoys mentoring and teaching the youth, not only just football but essential life skills to establish a strong foundation of a strong work ethic and determination. Coach Jackson is working to own and operate a youth mentoring program using sports as a platform.  He has one son Jaidin, that plays football for the Bloomington Knockers.

Mike Jennings

Bio not available.