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CCA fills gridiron coaching void

From a Trojan to a Clipper

North Liberty Leader
TIFFIN– There’s a new skipper for the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) varsity football program. Gabe Bakker, head coach for the Pleasantville, Iowa, Trojans has been named to fill the vacancy created with the resignation of the father-and-son coaching duo of Ronnie and Matt Hughes about a month ago.
According to KNIA/KRLS radio (Knoxville-Pella), Bakker spent five years at Pleasantville and took the Trojans from a 3-6 record his debut season to being a ranked team the past two seasons. Bakker’s Trojans put up a 9-2 record and a first-round playoff victory in 2015. The Trojans finished the 2016 season second in Class 1A District 5 with a 6-1 district record and 8-2 record overall. The Trojans had three consecutive playoff appearances in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Pleasantville’s district includes Pella Christian, Interstate 35-Truro, Central Decatur-Leon, Woodward-Grainger, Mount Ayr, Des Moines Christian and Woodward Academy.
The Clippers’ story is similar to the Trojans. The Creek Boys were third in Class 3A District 4 with a 5-2-district record and 7-2 overall record at the end of the season. The Creek Boys went 4-5 their first season with the Hugheses but improved to 7-2 in 2014 with their first district championship in school history.
“We feel that CCA has everything it takes to be successful,” Bakker said in a Monday, April 24, email. “They have the facilities, the student-athletes, community support, teachers and coaching staff in place to really become a power in 3A.” He added the district is an ideal place to watch his family (wife Hilary and sons Beckett, Binley, Bruer and Briggs) grow. “It is a larger town but has the small community feel.”
Bakker said his goal as a football coach has always been to create better men through the game of football.
“If we can create well-rounded athletes by teaching them life lessons, the football success will follow. Building meaningful relationships and leaders are a top priority in my program. I have no doubt we’ll achieve this at CCA.”
The coach added he wants the Clippers to expect to win, and know what that entails.
“That means in the community, in the classroom, in the weight room, on the field, and on other athletic venues they need to give everything they have for the good of the team.”
Bakker’s comments echo Matt Hughes, who said in a 2013 interview (Hughes’ first season) his first priority was to create “good people,” and explained football teaches many life skills and can be a valuable tool in character development. “They’ll walk away knowing football,” he said, “but they’ll also be contributing members of society. That’s priority number one.”
Bakker teaches math at Pleasantville High School and graduated from Dike-New Hartford before attending Iowa State and playing as a defensive back for the Cyclones. He first taught at West Des Moines Valley before moving to Pleasantville.
Bakker’s acceptance of the CCA coaching position is pending the school board’s approval. The next meeting of the board is set for Wednesday, May 10.