WHEATON – With his father, Scott, a former NFL player and his older brother, Dan, a four-year contributor at Purdue University, football seemingly was in the DNA of Shane Dierking.
And though not blessed with similar size as his father and brother, the incoming senior at North Central College has become a star in his own right for a Cardinals’ team that will enter the 2013 season ranked among the top-10 Division III teams.
“Growing up, we always had my dad’s old tapes and jerseys all over the house but he never pushed us into anything,” Dierking said.
“Watching Danny growing up, he was an outstanding athlete and getting to see him do it, I fell in line with it at a young age.
“I looked up to Danny’s accomplishments and to my dad’s as well, and I saw how humble they were. They were great role models to follow in their footsteps and try to do the same things they did.”
Set to enter his third year as the starting strong safety for North Central after switching from cornerback, Dierking was recently named to the 2013 D3football.com preseason All-America team. He is already a two-time first team All-CCIW selection as well as a second team All-North Region honoree last fall.
“It’s always nice to get something like that,” said Dierking about the preseason recognition, “but first and foremost, my focus is on winning football games and trying to win championships.”
Winning has been a common theme throughout Dierking’s days on the gridiron, dating back to his time with the Wheaton Rams and then continuing with Wheaton Warrenville South and North Central. In fact, the Cardinals are in the midst of a streak of seven consecutive conference titles.
“Going from one program to the next, and even in the feeder program, I can count probably one or two times where I have been on losing teams,” he said. “Coming from a great, established program like Wheaton Warrenville South and then walking into a similar program at North Central, I feel very blessed to have been able to do that.”
This season, though, will have a little different feel to it for Dierking.
“I started playing football in second grade, and I was probably eight years old,” he said. “It’s really wild to think this is probably my last year ever playing football. It is always in the back of my mind when thinking about this season. Training wise, it pushes you even more. I want to have a great going out party, just leave everything out there.”
Dierking, whose older sister Caitlin is a nurse at Northwestern Hospital while Dan is a manager with Caterpillar, will graduate with a degree in management.
“I’m going to throw my hat into the business ring and also maybe look into college coaching,” he said. “I’ll see what happens in the business world and see what happens with coaching. I’m pretty wide open.”