Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 4/20/2017 10:58 PM

Pearlman will join Fremd as defensive coordinator

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  • Brent Pearlman is headed for a spot on Fremd's football staff, as defensive coordinator.

    Brent Pearlman is headed for a spot on Fremd's football staff, as defensive coordinator.
    Daily Herald photo

By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent

Wheeling's loss became Fremd's gain.

Wheeling head football coach Brent Pearlman resigned Thursday to become the defensive coordinator at Fremd.

It was a decision Pearlman struggled with.

"This has been an extremely difficult decision to make," Pearlman said. "The imperfect storm of variables that have fallen into place have made it very difficult to remain the head football coach at this point in time."

Pearlman had been at Wheeling for the last 5 seasons, compiling a 17-29 record. But despite the sub-.500 mark, Pearlman was credited with turning the program around.

The Wildcats were co-champs of the MSL East in 2015, but did not qualify for the playoffs because their overall mark was 4-5. Wheeling, which had not qualified for the playoffs since 2008, made it last year when the Wildcats were 5-4 before bowing out to Cary-Grove.

"I would like to thank Steve May and Principal Angela Sisi for their support and belief in me to run the football program," Pearlman said. "This has nothing to do with my players. I love them."

Pearlman spent 12 seasons at Prospect where he went 104-34 and won three state titles. He then was an assistant coach at Lake Zurich before taking over at Wheeling in 2012.

The changes had been rumored for some time and finally became official on Thursday.

Fremd coach Lou Sponsel said he was extremely excited to have Pearlman. Sponsel had been seeking a defensive coordinator to replace Danny Davis, who is retiring at the end of the school year.

"I just know we wanted to get the best," Sponsel said. "We want to keep it as simple for the kids and get the most out of our players."

Sponsel said Pearlman has the things he feels his program needs to make a significant leap in 8A, where the Vikings have bowed out early in the playoffs the last five seasons.

"If Fremd is ever to turn the corner, this is the type of the kind of guy we need," Sponsel said. "I want to make sure I give Brent everything he needs to be successful on the defensive side of the ball."

Pearlman is eager to get started.

"Obviously I am excited to get to Fremd," Pearlman said. "Talking to Lou has been awesome. Anytime you start a new thing, there is a sense of excitement. This is going to be challenging and a great opportunity."

The Pearlman move is just one of many coordinator changes in the MSL this year.

Former Hoffman Estates coach Mike Donatucci will be the new defensive coordinator at Hersey, and Tyler Donnelly, who was the head coach at Palatine before Rick Splitt, will be the offensive coordinator at Palatine under first-year head coach Corey Olson.

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