Streamwood football coach Cal Cummins stepped down recently, citing family obligations.
The sixth coach since the program began in 1979, Cummins led the Sabres for seven seasons, highlighted by a playoff appearance in 2011, Streamwood's first since 2002. He called a meeting with his players to break the news two days after the team awards banquet.
Chief among his reasons was more family time. Cummins and his wife have three grown children. A daughter is getting married next summer. A son, Brady, is a U.S. Marine, scheduled to complete fighter pilot training next summer in Texas. Brady and his wife are also expecting a baby, and Cummins intends to spend time with his son's growing family next summer.
"Long story short, I'd probably be missing about half of the summer next summer," Cummins said. "From my own personal way of trying to do things, I think that's a critical time. It's kind of hard to ask coaches and players to be committed and not be there yourself. Those were the primary reasons."
Cummins, 56, teaches history at Streamwood. He plans to retire in a year, possibly two, and head for a warmer climate.
"It just seemed like the right time," he said. "I figured I was going to coach until I retired, but I didn't see that working. And I've had a few philosophical differences along the way. Originally, when I was hired there were some things in relation to the weight room and the way things were going to be, and that's kind of fallen through as U-46 made their cuts. So that was another factor, "But, really, the personal side of it, the fact that I was going to be gone, was kind of the key."
Cummins came to Streamwood from Freeport, his alma mater, where he amassed a record of 109-61 in 17 seasons. His Freeport teams won 4 consecutive NIC-9 titles and made the playoffs 10 times, including his last six seasons with the Pretzels. A former all-state player who went on to start at running back for Iowa State, Cummins coached Freeport to a state quarterfinal in 2004.
Accepting the Streamwood job was a career challenge. In 2006, Cummins took over a program that had lost 10 straight games and 21 of its previous 23. The veteran coach aimed to instill a winning attitude and a strong work ethic, but it took time. The Sabres finished 1-8 in each of his first four seasons and 2-7 in 2010.
Streamwood and Cummins finally enjoyed a breakout season in 2011, winning 6 games for the first time since 1998 and qualifying for the playoffs, led by two future Northern Illinois Huskies, running back Alex Morrow and wide receiver Blake Holder.
"I was looking for a tough one," Cummins said of his choice to take the Streamwood job in 2006. "It's a school where there's a lot of work to be done, not just in athletics but in general. A lot of things can happen and, hopefully, will happen."
The Sabres slipped to 3-6 this season. Cummins ends his seven year run at Streamwood with a record of 15-49 overall, 8-36 in Upstate Eight Conference play. He ends his 24-year career as a head coach with record of 124-110, a .530 winning percentage.