The contract of Wheaton Academy varsity football coach and director of athletic performance T.J. Ragan will not be renewed when it expires July 31.
The imminent departure of the Warriors' first-year coach was announced to the private West Chicago high school on Monday. Ragan -- whose Warriors won four of their last five games and earned a share of the Suburban Christian Conference Gold Division championship with IC Catholic Prep and Aurora Central Catholic -- was hired on March 16, 2012.
"We focused on two things all year -- control the things you can control and live in the moment of five seconds," said Ragan, the successor to former Warriors coach Ben Wilson, who resigned after the 2011 season following surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. Wilson assisted on Ragan's staff last season.
"This is our five seconds," Ragan said, "and we need to focus on giving our very best at this time and do the best we can."
A statement mutually issued by Ragan, Wheaton Academy Head of School Gene Frost and athletic director Andrew Tink read in part: " ... in recent conversations regarding plans for our comprehensive health and fitness program both during and after school, it became clear that both parties did not have alignment in the future direction of our program. Due to these differences, it was decided that Coach Ragan's expertise and goals were not a great fit for the future of the program and that it would be best if we part ways and go in different directions."
The document, which also stated that through Ragan's leadership, " ... our young men have grown and developed character through football ...," noted Ragan will continue in his duties the remainder of the school year.
On Tuesday Tink said, "He's a quality man, a man of character, and he did a great job with the football program."
Stressing the school's commitment to the football program -- to the point that a capital campaign that would include an on-campus field has begun -- Tink said an opening for the coaching position had yet to be posted. He did not specify a time frame for the spot to be filled.
Ragan, who has football coaching and performance training experience from the junior to professional levels, arrived last April 16 from Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colo., and officially started at Wheaton Academy in July. He and his wife, Jenny, and their four children relocated "one house" from the school campus, Ragan said.
He'll leave Wheaton Academy assured its football players are on the right path.
"The kids are so far along it's amazing," Ragan said, "as a team and as individuals."