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updated: 11/8/2016 8:52 PM

Donatucci stepping away from Hoffman Estates

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  • Mike Donatucci is through as Hoffman Estates' football head coach after leading the Hawks to the postseason this fall.

      Mike Donatucci is through as Hoffman Estates' football head coach after leading the Hawks to the postseason this fall.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent

Feeling that he'd accomplished what he had been hired to do, Mike Donatucci has resigned as head coach of the Hoffman Estates football program.

"The staff there is good," Donatucci said. "That is really the thing. The timing is right. They are young and they are ready. We got things rolling and I think they can keep things rolling."

In his four years at the helm at Hoffman Estates, Donatucci took a program that had struggled mightily to be competitive and turned it around.

In the decade before Donatucci became head coach, Hoffman Estates won just 12 games and winless in 5 of those seasons.

Donatucci won 10 games in his first three years, missing the playoffs by one game in two of those seasons.

This past season, everything came together for Donatucci and the Hawks. They won 6 games and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1994.

"Mike has accelerated the growth and development of our football program," Hoffman Estates athletic director Steve Lacni said. "He has elevated the program to restore pride, respect, and competitiveness. The players now believe they have the grit and perseverance to be successful."

Hoffman Estates lost its playoff game to Benet 29-24 in the first round. The Redwings have since advanced to the Class 7A quarterfinals.

Doantucci told his players and his staff of his decision after their loss in their final game. He said the thought was that he would stay until the Hoffman program was back on its feet.

"That was the plan all along," Donatucci said. "We would find someone that would keep the values going.

"I told the kids after the game that I was stepping down and that I had hoped that their next head coach was standing in the room with us."

Donatucci retired from Fremd in after the 2013 season. He took the Vikings to the playoffs in 17 consecutive seasons during his 19-year tenure there, during which he compiled a 137-63 record.

After a year as an assistant at Schaumburg, he was lured back to become the head coach at Hoffman Estates. He begain with the Hawks in 2013, after they'd gone 0-9 in the previous season.

Donatucci has not ruled out coming back as an assistant coach someplace else next season.

"I am not struggling with stepping down," Donatucci said. "I know I am going to coach somewhere. I am just done coaching as a head coach. I guess the struggle is where."

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