Driver takes reins of Falcon football program
The 40-year-old Driver, a 1998 graduate of the school and its current Facilities Director, was an assistant coach in the program from 2005 to 2017. In those 13 years, which included nine as the defensive coordinator, the Falcons made five trips to the state championship game, winning titles in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
“It was a dream of mine to be the head football coach here,’’ Driver said. “I went to school here. I played here. I’ve been a part of state championship teams. I want to continue that tradition.’’
Driver replaces Pat Ryan, who was 10-8 in two years at the helm. Ryan is the Director of Curriculum/Principal at Saint Albert Catholic Schools and resigned the head football post to devote more time to his academic duties.
“Coach Driver has the dedication and expertise to lead the football program to new heights,’’ Ryan said. Ryan will remain in the program as an assistant coach.
Saint Albert activities director Ken Schreiber believes Driver is the right man for the job.
“We feel Jake is a great hire,’’ he said. “He is a proven commodity. He has previous success as our head wrestling coach and has done a great job as an assistant coach in our football program.’’
Two more former Saint Albert head football coaches are rejoining the staff.
Kevin Culjat, a 1982 alumnus, will be a co-defensive coordinator. He had a 93-16 record in nine years, including six trips to the state semifinals, three to the finals and one championship (2009).
“His knowledge of the game of football is second to none,’’ Driver said. “He’s one of the best defensive coaches I’ve ever played for or coached with.’’
Marshall Scichilone, a head football coach for 25 years with a combined record of 154-77 at Saint Albert and Woodbine, will join the staff as an advisor. He will periodically offer opinions and insight to the players and coaches.
“Just having somebody of that caliber and character around your kids is a positive,’’ Driver said. “There’s a long tradition of tremendous student-athletes that went to school here. He coached a lot of them, and this will tie our kids back to that history.’’
Saint Albert’s 50 playoff victories rank 10th in Iowa prep history, regardless of class.
Driver and Tucker Culjat (2014) will be the co-offensive coordinators, while Kevin Culjat will join Jake Gentile (2011) in coordinating the defense. Tim Book (1982) will return as the special teams coordinator, while Joe Kennebeck (1973) will be in charge of the offensive and defensive lines. Chuck Gorman (1982) will lead the Falcon youth program as the PAL (Parochial Athletic League) director and also will be a high school assistant. Additional coaches may still be added.
“I think we’ve got a really good blend of some guys that have coached for a long time and some newer guys,’’ Driver said.
Driver also is excited about the new cooperative agreement with Heartland Christian, which will add numbers to the program and likely afford the opportunity for more lower-level games.
He believes the football program is one piece in an encouraging shift of momentum for the school.
“I think we’re all moving in a very positive direction, as far as having our school succeed across the board, and I want to be a part of bringing that back,’’ he said. “To do things the St. Albert way is something that we have to continue to do. We always play bigger, play faster than we really are, and that’s kind of what I want to continue to impress upon our kids.’’