Taking over the football reins at Metamora in 1972 as Marty Stromberger stepped up to the A.D. job, John installed a new system, had only 6 returning lettermen and no conference affiliation. Still his team came in with a 3-4-0 mark.
Helmick's next team went 11-0-0 (a school record) and followed that with a 7-I-I record in `74. His `75 team went 13-0 and won the Class 3-A state title. The `76 team ended at 12-1 after losing the Class 3-A title game to Geneseo 20-12.
In his 5 seasons at Metamora, his Redbirds posted a 46-6-1 record while outscoring opponents 1536 points to 502. Four of his teams won conference titles and a 1st and 2nd place at state.
John started his 35-year career with assistant jobs at East Peoria and Woodruff, followed by one season as head coach at Elmwood before going to Metamora. He went from there to Carbondale and then to Herrin. He retired two years ago with a 35- year career mark of 192-68-1. He is a
member of the Illinois Football Coaches Hall of Fame.