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updated: 4/25/2017 4:54 PM

Lake Zurich chooses Mertens as football coach

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  • Luke Mertens, who has been selected as the next football head coach at Lake Zurich, speaks to players in the program he has coached for the last 12 seasons at Lakes Community High School.

      Luke Mertens, who has been selected as the next football head coach at Lake Zurich, speaks to players in the program he has coached for the last 12 seasons at Lakes Community High School.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald report

District 95 administrators are recommending the hiring of Luke Mertens as Lake Zurich's next football coach.

Mertens has thrived as the head coach at Lakes Community High School since the varsity program came into existence in the fall of 2005.

At Lakes, Mertens' Eagles teams have qualified for the state playoffs in the last eight seasons. He has amassed a career record of 72-50; over the last five seasons, his record has been 38-14.

Lakes made its deepest playoff run in the fall of 2011, when the Eagles reached the Class 6A quarterfinals.

Incoming Lake Zurich athletic director Andy Lambert was directly involved in the selection of Mertens, who teaches English.

"Our No. 1 priority in hiring a new coach was to find an outstanding leader for our football program, one who will continue our long tradition of student-athlete success in the classroom and on the field," Lambert said in a statement released Tuesday. "I believe we have achieved that goal with Luke Mertens.

"Coach Mertens' record of success is extraordinary, but even more impressive is his passion for not only the game of football, but also creating an atmosphere in which student-athletes become their best. His character, work ethic, values and knowledge of the game make him an outstanding fit for our program and to lead our student-athletes."

The Lake Zurich school board has recognized that football players engaged in inappropriate behavior in the locker room last fall. Subsequently, AD Rolly Vazquez, head football coach David Proffitt and assistant coach/dean of students Chad Beaver resigned.

Mertens is eager to join the new effort at Lake Zurich.

"My family and I are honored to have the opportunity to be a part of Lake Zurich's prestigious community," he said in the statement. "I look forward to creating a football culture where all players are valued, respected and willing to challenge themselves to be the best person they can be."

Board approval of the hiring, which includes an English teaching position for Mertins, is anticipated at an April 27 meeting.

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