During his first walk-through at Rolling Meadows High School, newly named Head Football Coach Robbie Gould came across what he describes as a “shrine” to his former teammate, Jimmy Garoppolo. Laughing, he immediately texted his former teammate and gave him a virtual high five.

Robbie Gould poses in front of the “shrine” to Jimmy Garoppolo. (Photos courtesy of District 214)

Gould played from 2005 to 2015 for the Chicago Bears, before being traded to the New York Giants and spending his last five years playing with Garoppolo for the San Francisco 49ers. They bonded not only as teammates but from having their lockers next to each other’s.

“We had a lot of synergy together, from both being from the Chicago area. We just had a lot in common,” Gould said during a phone interview. “He’s excited for me. He knows the kind of energy and excitement I’m going to bring to the program every day.”

After that same walk-through and meeting the players for the first time, Gould began to sense the excitement for the program, which will only continue to build, he says.

“The kids are hungry, excited and gritty,” Gould said. “I can’t wait to get out on the field.”

Gould says he sees his first head coaching job as a way to give back. In looking back at his own high school experience — growing up in Central Pennsylvania, where he was a three-time All American soccer player before playing football at Penn State — he describes those years as formative and impactful.

Principal Megan Kelly welcomes Robbie Gould to the school.

“Some of my best memories are from high school athletics,” Gould says.

He adds that his coaches stressed academics first, and to work hard and enjoy all aspects of the sport. Not just the games, but the practices, camaraderie and leadership platform it gives players.

“One of the core values of District 214 is service and giving back. That’s one of the main reasons I took the job,” he says “I want to set the tone for leadership in the school, involving our kids in the community and being great leaders.”

Gould addresses his players.

Gould also wants his players to respect the great tradition of football at Rolling Meadows, which has qualified for the state playoffs 19 times in the past 25 seasons. To do that and set high expectations, he welcomes the alumni to come back.

“They shaped the tradition of this program,” he says.

Included in that group of alumni is his former teammate Garoppolo, whose parents still live in Arlington Heights. The two stay in touch and Garoppolo regularly plays in Gould’s charity golf outing. After spending so much time together on the field and in the locker room, they now share even more in common: Mustangs’ football.


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