Brian Hauck, a former Wheeling football player and assistant coach, finally has his dream job.
As the program's head coach, naturally.
"It's the only place I ever wanted to take a head coaching job," said Hauck, who spent the last four seasons at Rolling Meadows as an assistant to Matt Mishler. "Being a Wheeling grad and having worked there all along, it's just always where I pictured myself.
"I look at this as a tremendous opportunity, and one I'm honored to have. I'm looking forward to getting going and putting the vision I have in place."
Hauck succeeds Brent Pearlman, who recently announced a move to join Fremd's program as an assistant.
Hauck, who is a social sciences teacher at Wheeling, was the Wildcats' defensive coordinator under Dave Dunbar, an experience he says shaped his outlook on the sport, and on coaching.
"That was one of the great influences for me, just seeing how he approached things and really made a difference with the kids," said Hauck.
The Wildcats also met with a more tangible kind of success, earning back-to-back playoff appearances in the 2007 and '08 seasons.
After one season on Pearlman's first staff at Wheeling, the last four seasons at Rolling Meadows alongside Mishler were also helpful. With the Mustangs, Hauck worked with receivers, linebackers and, he says, "just about anything we needed help with."
Rolling Meadows' recent success, too, was also instructional. Hauck credits Mishler for running a top-notch outfit, and for taking an active approach to teaching the basics of leadership.
Hauck personally directed a program at Meadows which emphasized those basics, and he believes they'll be important at Wheeling as well.
"In the end, the goal is to develop athletes who are leaders," he said. "That's the mission -- building great leaders."
Rolling Meadows has qualified for the playoffs for six straight seasons, and Wheeling earned a postseason berth last fall as well. Hauck hopes to extend the spirit of achievement at his alma mater.
"The kids need to believe they are capable of winning," he said. "If you have that, then you also tend to get the kind of commitment and discipline you need, and that leads to a kind of forward momentum. That's what we'll be after."
Among the Mid-Suburban League connections for Hauck is a friendship with Barrington coach Joe Sanchez: they were teammates together at Wheeling.
Hauck says he's grateful to new principal Jerry Cook and assistant principal Steve May for the opportunity at hand.
Likewise, he's thankful that wife Erin and daughters Eanna, 9, and Frankie, 5, will tolerate the time he'll have to devote to his second family.
"Family is huge for me, and that's what we're after in the football program too," Hauck said. "We're want to have a great family atmosphere."