Second-year St. Mary’s football coach Jason Fenstermaker played for Grain Valley head coach Forrest Rovello from 1997 to 2000 and coached alongside the Eagles legend during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

Second-year St. Mary’s football coach Jason Fenstermaker played for Grain Valley head coach Forrest Rovello from 1997 to 2000 and coached alongside the Eagles legend during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

Fenstermaker and his coaching mentor will be reunited next season on the Trojans sidelines as Rovello will become St. Mary’s new defensive coordinator and associate head coach.

“Let’s see, the total number of career wins on my staff just jumped to 137 – my four and Coach Rovello’s 133,” said Fenstermaker, who is serious about Rovello joining his staff.

“People ask me, ‘How can you have someone like Coach Rovello on your staff? Won’t you just be looking over your shoulder all the time?’ And I tell them any coach who wouldn’t like someone like Coach Rovello on his staff is in the wrong business. This is going to be like Coach Rovello’s first year at Grain Valley when the school had about 230 students.

“He took Grain Valley from a 1A joke to a 2A power and kept climbing the ladder – he had so much success at Class 3 and Class 4 – and that’s the type of thing we’d like to see happen here.”

Rovello, 61, announced his retirement following last season at Grain Valley. And he just announced that he would no longer teach social studies at the high school.

“I’m going to do what I love to do – and that’s coach,” Rovello said. “Jason and I had a meeting a while back, and it really went well. He offered me the associate job and defensive coordinator position, and I accepted. You know, I was a defensive coordinator at Sherwood before I went to Grain Valley.

“And as Grain Valley got bigger and bigger and bigger and my coaching staff got bigger and bigger and bigger, I found out I was doing more administrative stuff and less coaching. Now, I’m going to be coaching, and I can’t wait.”

Neither can his protégé.

“I need help, and I’m always looking for a good coach, and you won’t find a better coach than Coach Rovello,” Fenstermaker said. “Everything I do – from my practices to my game plans – I learned from him. The players are excited about Coach Rovello joining our staff, and so am I.”

Rovello said he has fond memories of working with Fenstermaker as a player and assistant coach.

“No. 1, Jason loves the game as much as I do. He has a real passion for football,” Rovello said. “And two, he’s as organized as anyone I’ve ever been around. I think we’re going to have some fun and, hopefully, a lot of success this upcoming season.”