Auburn High School Football Coach Dan Appino is stepping down from his head coaching duties after six successful seasons leading the Auburn Knights. Appino submitted his resignation last week. "I have reached a point in my career and life where the energy and enthusiasm needed to maintain that high-level position has eclipsed my ability and desire to fulfill those needs on a continual basis." Appino will continue to be part of the program, perhaps as an assistant football or volunteer coach for the 2018 season. The move would enable him to connect student athletes with college coaches and post-secondary opportunities while staying connected to players and the program on a less demanding scale. Appino will continue his work as a counselor at Auburn High School.
The Knights made it to the playoffs in five of Appino's six years leading the program. Auburn's varsity team has a 43-20 win-loss record over the past six years, including two NIC-10 championships. Under Appino's leadership, every senior who completed the football program graduated high school, and more than 20 student-athletes continued their football careers in college.
Longtime Assistant Coach JP Toldo has been tapped to lead the team in the 2018 season, pending Rockford School Board approval. Toldo has worked with Appino since 2009 as an assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, varsity assistant and head freshman coach in the Auburn program. He is also in his sixth year working at Auburn, most recently as a student mentor. "I have valued Coach Appino as a mentor, coach and friend for the last decade," Toldo said. "He will continue to be a valued member of our football family. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to continue our Auburn football tradition."
Mat Parker, Director of Athletics and Activities, expects the transition with Toldo's leadership to be smooth. "It's about culture and stability," Parker said. "Coach Appino changed the culture of Auburn Football and implemented core principles in the program: being on time, a class act, and an aggressive learner. Those principles helped the program thrive, and Coach Toldo will continue that mindset and culture."
Appino offered gratitude to his family and friends, RPS 205 administrators, Auburn administration, faculty and fans for supporting his tenure as the Knights head football coach. He also acknowledged his coaching staff: "The growth of the Auburn football program would not have occurred so rapidly without the constant efforts of my stellar coaching staff," he said. Finally, he is grateful to his players over the years. "I am thankful to have experienced, worked with, and coached up Auburn student-athletes," Appino said. "My coaching life has truly been a blessing."