Dundee-Crown has picked one of its all-time great athletes to lead the football program.
Mike Steinhaus, a 2003 graduate and a 2013 inductee to the school's athletic hall of fame, has been named head coach, the school announced Tuesday. He succeeds Vito Andriola, who left the position last month for the same job at Grant.
"It's exciting," Steinhaus said. "It is a privilege to work for the high school you graduated from. I was lucky enough to work with some really great coaches over my career, and I've learned lot of things from of them. I went into the teaching and coaching business to give back to my community, which is one of the reasons I came back to Dundee-Crown. I hope to instill the values I was taught throughout my career in these kids. I had a lot of opportunities after college, but there's something about going back to your school."
Steinhaus played football, basketball and baseball at Dundee-Crown. Twice named all-area by the Daily Herald, he went on to play tight end at Ball State for coach Brady Hoke, now at Michigan. Steinhaus won Ball State's Ray Louthen Senior Inspiration Award for outstanding contributions on and off the field.
He returned to District 300 as a teacher in 2008, and currently teaches physical education and drivers education at the high school.
Steinhaus was already a third-year D-C assistant football coach when the head coaching job last opened in 2011. He became a finalist, however, the D-C administration opted then for Andriola, a veteran coach with a proven track record of turning around struggling programs. Steinhaus joined Andriola's staff as offensive coordinator.
"He was only three years out of school then," retiring Dundee-Crown athletic director Dick Storm said of Steinhaus. "Now he's six years out of college and has been the offensive coordinator for three years, and our offense had a great deal of success this year, much to his credit. He bleeds red and blue and he's really matured these last few years. No matter when a (coaching) change came, whether it was now or two years from now, I think Mike was the heir apparent all along."
The Chargers went 0-9 in Andriola's first season and 3-6 in his second season in 2012. Dundee-Crown finished 6-4 last fall and reached the playoffs for the first time in 19 years.
"We want to continue what has been put in place by Mr. Andriola," Dundee-Crown principal Lynn McCarthy said. "Mike has been working with him and under him for the last three years, and he is definitely the person we need to continue it."
"I was very thankful coach (Andriola) got the job because I was able to learn a lot of things from him about organization and planning and culture," Steinhaus said. "Being 28 is a lot different than being 25. I'm a lot more prepared.
"I think the kids are excited. The coaches are excited. It's time to go to work."
Steinhaus resides in West Dundee with his wife, Kim, and their son, Brady.