When Mike DiMatteo informed Hinsdale Central athletic director Paul Moretta that he was resigning as head football coach, Moretta couldn't hide his feelings.
"I was really bummed," Moretta said. "He's a great guy and a wonderful coach."
DiMatteo surprised many at Hinsdale Central on Monday when he announced he was stepping down as the Red Devils' coach after five seasons at the helm. Before his hiring in 2006, DiMatteo spent six years as Lake Zurich's coach.
"I think every coach wonders what the right time is to step away," DiMatteo said. "The administration was completely supportive of me and they wanted me to stay. But there are some other things I'd like to focus on right now."
Hinsdale Central teams made the playoffs in DiMatteo's first four years, including the program's only appearance in a state title game in 2008. DiMatteo's teams at Lake Zurich and Hinsdale Central made the playoffs in eight of his 11 total seasons, but this fall Hinsdale Central went 4-5 to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
DiMatteo resigns with an overall coaching record of 71-45, including a 35-20 record with the Red Devils.
"This was completely Mike's decision, he was not asked to resign or anything," said Moretta, who could not pinpoint a timeline to hire a new coach. "I think it's just an incredible amount of work being a head football coach. It just wears on you, and I think that played a factor in Mike's decision."
DiMatteo stressed his desire to watch his son, Raymond, play football as a freshman at Cary-Grove next season. He also has a younger son and daughter.
A European history teacher at Hinsdale Central, DiMatteo, a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction honoree last year, said he would like to pursue a second Master's degree and possibly a doctorate in European history.
DiMatteo also didn't rule out a return to coaching, although that idea is far from his mind right now.
"Maybe," he said. "Someone asked me that today and I didn't quite know how to answer. I'd say yes, but who knows when? All I know is that right now this is the right decision for me."