Modelski father-son approach a steady success at Conant
Many coaches get involved in football because they eventually want their sons to be the quarterback.
But for Conant coach Bill Modelski, that was the furthest thing from his mind.
"My oldest son Kevin was an offensive guard when he played here," Bill Modelski said. "And when Danny came here, he was a center. But his body changed and he was perfect for our quarterback spot."
Bill Modelski knew that he could be in for some long criticism and possible heartache for his decision. So he went to the best source for a ruling: his wife, Karla.
Not just because Karla was a wife and a mom, but because Karla's is the daughter of G.C. Nalley, a hall-of-fame football coach at Lisle, where her two brothers played quarterback for their dad.
"I went through it with my dad and my brothers," said Karla Modelski, who teaches English at Conant. "The No. 1 rule was no football talk at the table. Both Bill and Danny have been very good about it.
"Bill is not a screamer. He is the boys' best cheerleader -- he just soaks it all in and goes on to his coaching."
Karla Modelski said that the way her parents dealt with her brothers prepared both she and Bill.
"I had great role models in my parents, and my mom is fantastic," Karla Modelski said. "They come to all the games now and they love to watch their grandsons play."
Those games almost did not take place, though. After Bill became head coach, the Modelski's decided to move into Conant's district so the boys could eventually play for him.
"We planned all along for this," Bill Modelski said. "You have three choices if you coach. Stop coaching, don't get to see them play, or move into the district where I coach. So I chose to coach them."
Bill Modelski said that decision to coach all of his sons and have Danny play quarterback made for some awkward and difficult moments. But ultimately, he said he'd never change that decision he made.
"I wouldn't say that aren't some glitches," Bill Modelski said. "It is really hard for them, with their peers. And there are weird moments with assistant coaches. But in the end, it has all been worth it."
"My friends make fun of me," Danny Modelski said. "They tell me, 'You are only starting because of your dad.' But I know they are just messing with me. And it just adds fuel to my fire."
That fire has enabled the 5-foot-11, 170-pound high school senior to work even harder. Last year he threw 24 touchdowns and more than 2,500 yards while leading the Cougars into the second round of the state playoffs.
This year, he has thrown for 666 yards and 7 touchdowns while the Cougars are unbeaten heading into this weekend's game with Rolling Meadows.
Bill Modelski says that he would be proud of his son no matter what happens on the field.
"Our relationship with sports in general is that I will be proud of you as long as you behave yourself and work hard," Bill Modelski said. "That is all that matters. That is the foundation. I am not one of those dads that yells at him when he strikes out."
As a result, Danny Modelski says he knows he can go to his dad anytime.
"He knows me so well," Danny Modelski said. "And when games go awry, he gets me better prepared mentally just by putting his hand on my shoulder or talking to me."
Danny has been drawing serious interest from NCAA Division II and III teams. But one of the most important things he has been doing is paving the way for his younger brother Brian, who is the quarterback of the freshman team.
"I have been talking to him about all the fun he is going to have playing for dad," Danny Modelski said.