PROFILE: Alum Sternquist brings work ethic back to BHS


Athletic Joshua Sternquist used to coach football at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Kaleigh Inniss, Staff Writer

Sternquist used to coach at the University of Minnesota

Athletic director and assistant principal Joshua Sternquist graduated from Belvidere High School in 1999 where he was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball, and baseball. He was also involved in clubs such as Kare Club, Yearbook, and B-Club. 

After high school, he started off his collegiate career at Valparaiso University where he majored in sports management. About a year later, he transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater at which he pursued a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education, minoring in recreational and coaching. 

Sternquist played defense in football at both universities and earned All-Academic honors and four player-of-the-week awards. He graduated in 2004, ending up eighth on his school’s all-time career interceptions list. 

Just two months after graduating, Sternquist landed a job as a football coach at the University of Wisconsin where he remained for four years. He then took a job at the University of Minnesota for four years. Afterwards, he spent four years at the University of New Mexico. In 2016, he took a job at the University of Illinois for a year, which was his last job at the Football Bowl Subdivision level. 

In 2017, with over 12 years of recruiting and operational experience, Sternquist became the athletic director of Rockford Lutheran for two years.  

Throughout his success, Sternquist has always remembered his Belvidere roots.

This is why when the athletic director position opened up at Belvidere High School in 2019, he jumped at the opportunity to come back.

“Where you grow up gives you foundational pieces,” Sternquist said. “I wanted to come back and help people achieve what they want to achieve.”

As an athletic director, Sternquist aims to attend ninety percent of Belvidere Buc athletic activities, which he says he has accomplished every year he has been at BHS. 

According to Principal Billy Lewis, there has been a significant increase in BHS conference standings and all-conference athletes since Sternquist joined the staff.

“He has shown us what it means to give your all to a community and to have high expectations for performance,” Lewis said. “He is a positive leader who believes in the best in everyone.”

Sternquist has attributed his success to hard work.

“I’m not a talented person; I’m not special,” he said. “I just worked hard.” 

His goal for BHS’s future is to be “humble in success and hungry in defeat.”

Sternquist hopes BHS athletes never become complacent and don’t let a single moment dictate their future.

“[We] can’t be defined by wins and losses,” he said.