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Dave Bierman is stepping down as Elgin's head football coach, he told his players after Friday's regular-season finale at Memorial Field.
Bierman, a 1981 Elgin graduate who took the job in May of 2008, cited dwindling participation numbers as the prime reason for his decision. The Maroons began the season with a varsity roster of 24 players, 17 of whom were eligible to play in the season opener.
Elgin fielded varsity teams of 45 players in 2011 and 40 in 2010.
"It's hard to coach when you don't have enough players," Bierman said. "It's hard to practice. It's frustrating for coaches and for the kids when it's difficult to practice. I think that's the biggest thing.
"The numbers have to get better. I wish I knew how to do that. Honestly, if I knew, I would have done it myself, but I don't know how you fix that."
In 2010, Bierman led Elgin to a 6-4 record and the school's first playoff appearance in nine years. However, Friday's lopsided loss to Batavia left the Maroons with a 1-8 record for the second straight season and dropped Bierman's record in five seasons at Elgin to 12-34 (.353).
Bierman was an offensive lineman for Northern Illinois University and a member of the 1983 Mid-American Conference and California Bowl champion team.
He began his high school coaching career at Elgin as an assistant under legendary coach Dick Stephens and landed his first head coaching job at Burlington Central in 1991. He guided the Rockets to two playoff appearances and a 27-29 record in six seasons. He departed Burlington Central for DeKalb, where his teams went 5-43 in five-plus seasons.
Bierman spent two seasons as a Geneva assistant coach on former NIU teammate Rob Wicinski's staff before taking the head coaching position at Larkin in 2005, succeeding Dale Schabert. He directed the Royals to a 12-16 mark over three seasons, highlighted by that school's last playoff appearance in 2006.
Bierman has coached in the last eight Town Jug games and owns a 5-3 record. He may return to coaching but not immediately.
"Basically, I'm going to take some time off from coaching and see what happens," he said. "You never know what's around out there, maybe even a D-III offensive line job opens up.
"I need to take some time off, prioritize on fixing some things. You have to take time to take care of things physically you put off. You're always doing something as a coach or you always have to go somewhere. It will be nice to have one normal year with no weight room in the winter, no practices all summer.
"If I'm not going to do it 100 percent, it's not fair to the kids. It is what it is. I guess sometimes you've got to be selfish, which I'm not really used to doing."