After every high school football season, Team McNamara huddles.
It's a football thing.
It's a family thing.
Bill, his wife, Kelly, sons Connor and Dylan, and youngest daughter, Kayla, talk Stevenson football. But not X's and O's.
"I have a heart to heart with my family and we talk about what's great for our lives," said Bill McNamara, Stevenson's head football coach for the last seven years. "They have been awesome in supporting my life with football."
Neither Bill McNamara's football life nor his coaching life will stop. But on Tuesday night, the only head coach to bring a football state championship to Stevenson made official to his players during a team following awards night that he has stepped down.
"I think it was just time to pass the torch," McNamara said.
An assistant coach under Bill Mitz for 20 years, McNamara guided Stevenson to 67 wins (only 16 losses). Fourteen of those victories came in 2014, when the Patriots put together an undefeated season in winning the Class 8A state championship. This past season, they captured the North Suburban Conference title with a 7-0 record and finished 8-2, losing to Huntley 21-20 in the first round of the Class 8A state playoffs.
"The state of the Patriot football union is fantastic right now," said McNamara, whose Patriots won the NSC in six of his seven seasons. "The program is in great shape, and I think we have a culture of champions at our school. The kids are role models in the school and in the community, and I have a coaching staff that is rock-solid."
McNamara, a science teacher at Stevenson, has four more years after this year before he retires. He plans to still be part of the program, but not at the varsity level.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the transition go smoothly and looking forward to the future successes at Stevenson," he said. "Personally, I would like to move down to be a lower-level staff member and, out of respect to the new (head coach), stay out of his shadow. But I still want to contribute and be there if there are questions or if he needs anything."
While McNamara believes the time was right for him to step aside, it wasn't an easy decision for him and his family.
"There were a lot of tears at the McNamara house (Tuesday) night," he said. "It's because Stevenson football has been a part of our life for so long."
It will continue to be so.