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Coaches That Make a Difference Series Debut : MCC’s Karen Wiley

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Crystal Lake IL- I had a good chance to see how McHenry County College’s Athletic Director and women’s head basketball coach Karen Wiley goes about her business. I covered the very successful women’s volleyball team for the NW Herald and watched and discerned how she struck the perfect balance as the AD and a big supporter of the Scots. She’s got game.

Wiley came to MCC by way of Kishwaukee College, located in Malta, IL. Malta is located in DeKalb County and the school also serves much of Lee and Ogle counties. Wiley was the head coach for 12 years. She was very successful with the basketball team including a 30-7 record her last year. The men’s team also flourished during her tenure with numerous 20+ win seasons.

Wiley has always been as passionate about the classroom as she is about the wins and losses. When she landed at MCC, she continued with the same game plan: good grades followed by competitive sports. The latter can’t exist without a solid performance in the former.


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The philosophy Wiley instills in her coaches and student athletes is one of taking responsibility for your actions, on and off the court. Wiley said this, “I expect excellence in the classroom. It’s not a glorified high school here. MCC is not a dumping ground for four year colleges.”

Strong words, but that’s how Wiley runs the Athletic Department and her own team. Fearless and steady in her approach, her coaches appreciate her style.

Coming off a great year for his women’s volleyball team, head coach Kyle McCall has come to appreciate Wiley and what she brings to MCC athletics. “Karen is taking MCC to the next level, not just the athletic department but the whole culture of the campus.” McCall continued, “We consider Karen a game changer for us. She has gotten so much accomplished in such a short time.”

McCall went on, “Karen is motivated, knowledgeable and a tenacious leader. We are happy to be on her team and look forward to the big thing ahead of us.”




Laying out her vision of where she would like to take MCC athletics, Wiley explained, “What we are after here is to develop a program that area student athletes want to be a part of and may even ask themselves, ‘Am I good enough to play at MCC?’. That’s what I would like to see.”

Coach Wiley possesses great resourcefulness and imagination with a spirited purpose to accomplish her goals. MCC is in a good place and the athletic department is in good hands.


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Fall Sports Celebration for Roadrunners: A Real Special Group




La Grange Park, IL- On Wednesday of this week, Nazareth Academy held its Fall Sports Recognition event at a pep rally in the Roadrunners gym. The teams were treated to a loud and appreciative experience by the friendly crowd, including a DJ and neon lights. A large screen showed the enthusiastic students team highlights and very humorous videos made by Nazareth students and staff. Nazareth President Dennis Moran, Principal Deborah Tracy and Athletic Director Duane Buturusis were VIP’s that headlined the extravaganza. Guidance Counselor Brendan Green adroitly emceed the event. Green was quite good and should be considered as the future host of the Academy Awards.



Retiring head coaches Kristin Stoejetz, Girls Softball, and Wayne Saunders, Girls Volleyball, deserve a huge round of applause from the Nazareth family for their dedication and commitment to the students. Stoejetz, 20 years, and Saunders. 40 years, epitomize the culture of excellence that exists at Nazareth. Great job and thank you to Kristen and Wayne. God bless you in your retirement!!


Kudos to the following Fall Sport participants:

  • Girls Softball: Stoejetz and Assistant Coach Anthony Gonzalez.
  • Boys Baseball: Head Coach Lee Milano. His team finished 2nd in the state playoffs. Ryan Kramer had an outstanding season.
  • Boys Cross Country: Head Coach Kevin Milos and Assistant Sean Banasiak.
  • Girls Cross Country: Head Coach Joe Wejman and assistant Gonzalez. Claire Ramsey was a state qualifier.


  • Poms: Head Coach Jennifer Day and Assistant Katie Broenneke.
  • Color Guard: Janet Rausch.
  • Cheerleaders: Head Coach Jorie Stevens.
  • Boys Golf: Head Coach Mike Morris. Matthew Clark was ESCC Player of the Year.
  • Girls Golf: Head Coach Charlie Rohlf.
  • Band: Leader Mike Sliwinski.
  • Boys Soccer: Head Coach Doug Hunt.
  • Girls Tennis: Head Coach Lisa Straface, ESCC Coach of the Year.
  • Girls Volleyball: Head Coach Saunders.

A ‘Big Thank You’ for the awesome Sisters of The Congregation of St. Joseph and Sr. Pat Bergen (CSJ). Their unending support and spiritual guidance lifts up all who walk the halls of Nazareth Academy. It would not be a party without Naz alum Lee Michaels, who’s fantastic DJ and light show were super stellar. Thanks Lee!!!

A Big Shout Out is due to Football Head Coach Tim Racki and his hardworking staff:

  • Joe Battaglia, Chris Beadie, Jonathon Bittle, Ed Cogan, Doug DiFusco, Ryan Evans, Joe Felice, Steve Gray, Matthew Letcher, Rudy Luna, Andy Miller, Tom Minogue, Rod Molek, Casey Moran, Corey Pratt, Joe Reynolds, Mike Sorenson, Jeff Tumpane, Jorge Valdez, Roy Verdin, Larry White and Jim Zimmerman.
  • Athletic Trainer Andrew Wyman.
  • Manager Mack Nelson and Erin Rollag, Alyssa Esposito, Maggie Corcoran, Krystal Nava, Darcy Rhoads and Emily Williams.
  • Team Doctors Tom Nelson and Eric Janota.
  • Roadrunner Chaplin Deacon Bob Esposito.

The Roadrunners won their second straight IHSA State Championship. The 2015 5a champions were led by Julian Love, Ivory Kelly-Martin, Carson Bartles, Joey Muscolino, Christopher Simmons, Cameron Weems, Devonte’ Dunn, Bryan Behrendt, Justin Weller, Gavin Smith, Austin Reifsteck, Wesley Lones, Tom Henehan, Mike Carpenelli, Matt Prendergast, Christian Sampleton, Aidan Bresnahan, William McKenna, Christian Davis and many more great players.

Supreme thanks go to the Wizard behind the scenes, Kate Augustyn, Naz’ incredible Director of Activities. Kate planned the entire pep rally and did a beautiful job! Thank you Kate!





Bluehawks on Roll, Jolt Chargers

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Northbrook, IL- The Bantam A Bluehawks are playing some of their best hockey when it counts: as they are heading into the playoffs. Thursday night at Northbrook Sports Center, the Bluehawks out skated the Chargers from Rolling Meadows by a score of 6-2. Guided by head coach Rich Blakey and assistant Trevor Noonan, the BH looked very good against the Chargers. Goal scorers for Northbrook were Christian Adams F, Michael Rabkin F, Andrew Rubin F, Brayden Roy F and Matthew Bruckman D. Goalie Jordan Fliegel was outstanding between the pipes as he made save after save for the BH.

An energetic crowd cheered on their home team to a very convincing W. They went on to play two games over the weekend: against Champaign Saturday and Evanston on Sunday.

The BH won in a very convincing fashion vs Champaign by a 4-2 score and tied Evanston 2-2. Fliegel again played very well and Adams scored twice Sunday. Adams finished the three game stretch with an impressive 3 goals and 5 assists. Nice job Christian, Jordan, Michael and ALL the Bluehawks on a job well done!!!

We spoke to Christian’s dad, Mike, before the puck dropped and he had this to say about the BH season, “It’s going well. We are two points out of first and we were not supposed to be that close. We are 12-3 and having a nice successful year so far.”

Fliegel when asked why he plays goalie said this, “I didn’t want to get hit by other players.” I think he may have kidding a tad because he faces hard pucks coming him at him all game long! He continued, “We’re good. I think we should win both games this weekend. Saturday’s team (Champaign) is a tough.”

Adams had this to say, “I need to keep doing it to the max (scoring). We are playing pretty well and our record is pretty good.” As to the upcoming games, he added, “We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

Good luck to the Bluehawks as they fly high into the playoffs.

2015-16 Bluehawks Bantam A players:

  • #8 Sam Rosen F
  • #10 Andrew Rubin F
  • #11 Michael Rabkin F
  • #12 Vaughn Frankel F
  • #16 Jaden Andrews F
  • #17 Matthew Bruckman D
  • #19 Tyler Lofland D
  • #21 Christian Adams F
  • #26 Victor Grujanac D
  • #34 David Wang F
  • #38 Lance Medina F
  • #50 Jordan Fliegel G
  • #64 Michael Matz F
  • #70 Anthony Arakelian D
  • #71 Jack Wolff F
  • #76 Matthew Glowacki D
  • #78 Max Kaufman F
  • #92 Brayden Roy F


Check out videos from the Bluehawks vs Chargers game:



Johnny Lattner and The No Name Gang


Forest Park, IL- It’s pretty dark inside Doc Ryan’s tavern, but the bright sun begins streaming through the windows on this beautiful Tuesday in October. They begin to straggle in one by one or in pairs, the gentlemen hailing from many local high schools (Fenwick, St.’s Phillip and Ignatius) and colleges (the University of Notre Dame, Universities of San Francisco, Illinois to name a few). This ritual occurs every Tuesday and has been going on for many years. Exactly how many years is up to debate, and holy cow do these guys love to debate. Over time the location has changed as have the participants; the various locales because of them closing or changing owners (Setback North and Comeback Inn to name two), the members because of health issues or sadly, their passing.

These guys are old, that’s not being mean, it’s being accurate. From their late 70’s to their late 80’s, “The No Name Gang” keeps going on and on. For how long, no one can say but what a grand bunch of unique personalities assembled for an afternoon of talk, joking and reminiscing. What an honor to be invited!

The current members of The No Name Gang:

  •  St. Ignatius HS: Jim Geraghty, Don Kurtz, Bob Grimes, Jack Tierney, Bill Barcoh, John Broderick, Jim Conley & Don Mulvihill
  • Fenwick HS: Bill Ritchie, Ed LeJune, Johnny Lattner, Charlie Fisher & John Dwyer
  • St. Phillips HS: Tony Pasquesi, Jack “Moon” Calkins, Jim Costello, Bill Sherlock, Bill Conrick & Mel Wiliams
  • Riverside-Brookfield HS: Tony Drake

Johnny Lattner is the center point of The Gang but by no means the only colorful gentleman. I will take credit for coming up with their name, The No Name Gang, because none of them could come up with one of their own. Out of the many great men that grace Doc’s on any given Tuesday, I sat down with two: Tony Pasquesi and Jim Geraghty. Here are their stories.

Jim Geraghty is the eldest of the group. Geraghty is 88 years young and you would guess he is in his 70’s. A retired lawyer, Geraghty is the group’s historian and a great storyteller. Aren’t they all??!!

“It started with Eddie Shea at the old Setback North. He owned gas stations and was from St. Giles Parish. He had a guy named Jack Donnely that worked for him. His nickname was ‘Rabbit’. Eddie could go to lunch because he had Rabbit to run the station for him.” Geraghty continued, “People started to join Eddie and the lunches would go for half the afternoon. People had the occupations that allowed them to take long lunches. I would stop by once in awhile but I was in an office downtown (Chicago). I didn’t spend much time there because I couldn’t.

“There was a good group. Then they moved to a place a little further west. I can’t recall the name of it. Roger Brown, another one of them dead now was with the Bombers. The Bombers were a local 16″ softball team that was sponsored by the tavern. They played at LaFollette Park on North Laramie. Now some of the Bombers started going to these long lunches. Then Shea died.”

Geraghty went on, “The Bombers kept the thing going. They moved the scene to Doc Ryan’s a long time ago. Marty Turek (deceased) had a golf tournament we all went to. He’s been dead now 7-8 years.”

Jim was a lawyer for over 52 years and had practices in Chicago and Glen Ellyn. He explained, “I went to Loyola University and majored in Economics and Commerce. I then went to Law School. I practiced downtown for 20 years and 32 years out west. I had two partners and then went on my own. I got tired of the city. I now live in Glen Ellyn in St. Petronelle Parish, where I raised all my children.” What a great story!

A fellow alumnus with Lattner from the University of Notre Dame was Tony Pasquesi. One year younger than Johnny, Pasquesi played his high school football at St. Phillips HS. “I grew up in Chicago near Crawford Avenue. Going to St. Phillips, I took public transportation. A streetcar. Chicago Avenue to Crawford, right to the school.” Pasquesi reminisced, “I spent four years doing that. As I looked back, I must have enjoyed it.

“I played against Fenwick all four years. We were in the same conference. Johnny was a big thing even though we beat them my senior year. Johnny was at Notre Dame then. We had fun. St. Phillips was a pretty good team back then and we were during my four years. Lattner was a big deal and went to ND. We both enjoyed it.”

Pasquesi continued,”At ND I was one year younger than Johnny. I played both ways my last three years. We were quite good. We won a National title under Frank Leahy. He retired and Terry Brennan became head coach my senior year. We only had one loss (9-1, the loss was to Purdue). I was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in the 3rd round. There were only twelve teams in the NFL and being the 36th pick was a honor for me.

“I went on to sign with them and played three years. Would’ve been longer but I blew out my knee. That cut my career short. After the NFL, I went to work with Edward Hines Lumber Company. I was based in Chicago and stayed with them for almost 50 years. I was an outside salesman my whole career and turned down many management positions.”

Pasquesi was very successful at Hines, “I became the all time #1 volume salesman for this 120 year old company. I sold to contractors and builders. I worked downtown Chicago. I live in Addison now. My first wife, Juanita, died when she was only 37 years old. I met my current wife, Jeanine, at a wedding of a friend’s daughter. She asked me to dance and I said I don’t dance to ‘this crap’. She said if you can walk, you can dance. And we danced and from that dance we have been together for over 30 years. We’re happy.”

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Mr. Heisman with Eddie LeJune

Johnny, who hasn’t been doing well recently, had told me this earlier, “Tony Drake collects the lunch money at Doc’s. He’s from Berwyn, sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s bad. We have a good group here. I love them all. We have a lot of fun.”

What a unique group of guys. They enjoy their time together and the stories that they tell. It’s very special and I am very lucky to have been a small part of The No Name Gang.

Check out the cool video of Johnny talking with The No Name Gang:










Loving the Grind: Alex Kube and Elite 7


East Dundee, IL- was honored to spend some time with Alex Kube and Ian Gardeck at the Elite 7 Training facility in East Dundee, Illinois. Check out their website for a closer look at Elite 7. Kube, former Cary-Grove, Northern Illinois University football star is the owner of Elite 7. Kube also had multiple tryouts with NFL teams in his quest to follow his dream of playing in the NFL. Now, Kube instructs and teaches his athletes the ins and outs of professional life and what it takes to succeed. Listen to Alex tell us a little about himself and his experiences:


One of the new clients at Elite 7 is the Judson University   women’s softball team coached by Western Illinois alumnus and ex-Chicago Bandit player Venus Taylor. Watch Taylor, Batts, Gardeck and Wright instruct the Judson players at Elite 7:

Gardeck and Billy Wright, both former players for Crystal Lake South HS baseball head coach Brian Bogda, work at Elite 7 with Kube. Gardeck is heading off to Arizona to get some work done before the SF Giants open their 2016 Spring Training in Scottsdale, Arizona. Scottsdale Stadium is the home for the Giants Spring Training and is the fall league ball park. Gardeck was recently added to the Giants 40 man roster.

No one knows what the future holds for Kube, Gardeck and Elite 7 but it sure looks very bright. As the song goes, “I gotta wear shades.” Good luck and may God bless them both.