EDWARDSVILLE - Edwardsville football defensive coordinator Kelsey Pickering was appointed the new head coach of the Tigers by unanimous vote of the District 7 Board of Education at its meeting on Monday night, becoming the 22nd head coach in the program's history.

Kelsey PickeringPickering replaces Matt Martin, who coached the Tigers for 13 seasons and had a 100-39 record as head coach. It's his first-ever head coaching job.

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Pickering coached a very solid defense that three times led the Southwestern Conference in allowing the fewest points-per-game, and has also made 11 consecutive IHSA playoff appearances, going to the second round in Class 8A last season before losing to Wilmette Loyola Academy of suburban Chicago.

"We are definitely excited to have Kelsey continue the tradition of Tiger football," said Edwardsville High athletic director Alex Fox. "He had proven his loyalty and worth to the program for the last 15 years and we are excited for him to lead and take our program to the next level."

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A native of Olathe, Kan., in suburban Kansas City, Pickering graduated from MidAmerica Nazarene College in Olathe, earning his bachelor's degree in health and physical education, also earning his master's degree from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo. He served as co-defensive coordinator at Maryville High from 2000-2004, then as defensive coordinator of Poiciana High in Kissimmee, Fla. from 2004-2006. He was also defensive coordinator and associate head coach at Odessa, Mo., High School from 2006-2008 before being hired as a physical education teacher and associate head coach at Edwardsville in 2008.

During his time with the Tigers, Pickering has helped to establish the Edwardsville defense as one of the best and most formidable in the St. Louis area and in the state.

"I think one of the strengths of our football program has been our defense," Fox said, "and he has been the defensive coordinator. We have always been known for our defensive prowess and the ability to play with anyone."

The Tigers went 7-4 last season and open its 2023 season on Aug. 25 at Tiger Stadium against Jackson, Mo., a team that Edwardsville defeated on the road last year 41-34 in double overtime and is considered one of the best teams in the state of Missouri.

The schedule also includes dates against two St. Louis City teams, Soldan at home and Cardinal Ritter Catholic Prep on the road, and conference home dates against Alton and East St. Louis. Road games this year will be at Cahokia, O'Fallon, Belleville West and Belleville East.

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