North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Andre Ashley, Football Coach

Photo credited to Andre Ashley

Name and occupation?Coach Ashley, I am the football coach and I am the para-professional for the physical welfare department. 

What inspired you to become head coach at football? What really got me into coaching was a coach of mine who actually gave me a chance when I probably didn’t deserve one. 

What do you like most about working at North? Interactions with the kids. I feel like I’ve been able to build some meaningful relationships with young people. I feel like I’ve been able to connect with most students and be like a guiding voice to them and to that consequence I’ve been able to see some positive changes in a lot of kids since I’ve been here so that’s the most gratifying thing. The change and behavior, the change in mindset. 

What do you like to do in your free time? I like working out. I have been lately getting more into reading a different variety of books so not just stuff that interests me as much but things that are good to know. 

Who was your inspiration when you were younger? My mom. Tough cookie. She was a Navy woman. But she’s also the mother of three boys too. She is very inspiring. She was always there. It was caring, it was love. You know when it was time for hard lessons, you know she could give those too. My mom was a really big inspiration.

When did you know you wanted to be a coach? Probably figured that out, probably right after I got done playing college football. It wasn’t immediate, I went and did some things with professional training and educating myself on exercise science. And it was right around the time that I knew I was a coach by the way I would interact with clients and I still coached a little bit at that time but not as much. But it was right after that, that I knew I was put here to help and guide and instruct. 

Where did you go to college and what did you major in? I attended Kent State University for my undergrad and I majored in advanced technology. 

Did you play football in College and how was it? Yes, I did. My experience was great. I was able to be coached by a guy who was going to be a future Hall of Fame Coach in the NFL. And he associated with a lot of other future Hall of Famers from the college and at the NFL level so I got to experience a high level of football understanding at a very young age. 

How do you manage balancing being a father and coach at the same time? It’s a lot sometimes, especially when you’re in season, stuff is taking over all day but I think it’s important when you have those little small windows. It’s things like reading a book before they go to bed or helping with homework at home. It’s those little times that sometimes have the biggest impact. 

Are you pushing for your kids to play football or sports in general? I don’t really push my kids to play sports. I’d like them to play because they teach you great life lessons. What I teach my kids to do is to try their best at everything they do. If we’re at a spelling bee contest, we’re gonna push to be the best. It doesn’t matter what the format is, I think the real message is being able to compete with yourself.

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About the Contributor
Ayesha Rahman, Reporter
Ayesha is a senior at Niles North. This is her first semester at North Star News. In her free time, she likes to go to the gym, hang with friends, shop, and read.

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