Kaider era comes to a close at Mundelein
The vision couldn't have been clearer when George Kaider applied for and eventually earned the head football job at Mundelein three years ago.
He presented his detailed plan -- "Mundelein Championship Football, Catch The Vision" -- to the District 120 school board in a sharp-looking threefold pamphlet complete with graphics, colors and quotes. Every "t" was crossed, every "i" was dotted. He wore a sport jacket and tie and his young family was present when the school board approved his hiring. His passion was real, and it remains.
The big picture is still the same at Mundelein, however. The Mustangs can't win consistently, especially competing in the mighty North Suburban Lake Division, which boasts three teams (Stevenson, Libertyville and Lake Forest) playing in the state quarterfinals Saturday.
Mundelein has made the playoffs just twice in its history (2002 and 2004) and has zero postseason wins to show for it.
"We don't belong in this conference," said Kaider, shaking his head as he walked off the field following his team's 55-0 loss at Libertyville this season.
So Kaider has stepped down.
"It was my decision, and my family's decision," said Kaider, a Palatine graduate who played for hall-of-fame coach Joe Petricca. "I told myself when I took the job, 'If I can't do it, no one can.' I thought if we did everything right -- with the right kids, right staff, weight training, a comprehensive summer training program, community service work -- we had a chance.
"I decided that if by the third year we hadn't shown significant progress, I'd give someone a chance."
Kaider's failing health during the season made his decision easier. He says he battled pneumonia for three months.
"It just wouldn't go away," he said.
Kaider went 1-26, including 0-9 this season. Mundelein will enter next season with a 17-game losing streak. But don't cry for Kaider or the Mustangs, because the fiery coach won't.
"There is no sadness involved in this," Kaider said.
Rather, outside of wins, Kaider is excited about what his program accomplished during his tenure. The Mustangs went on a team retreat to Michigan Tech the last two summers. They jumped off cliffs and climbed a mountain together. They've had a weightlifting program in place the last three years.
Mundelein football players are physically stronger.
"Every day was dedicated to some team activity," Kaider said.
And despite a third winless season in four years, the Mustangs, on most nights, were competitive for at least one half of football. There was "no quit," Kaider said. Their lack of depth was more of a problem than their lack of talent.
"I'm really ecstatic about the kids and coaches I had to work with this last year," Kaider said. "They were phenomenal."
So, too, was Mundelein's administration to Kaider, a sixth-year guidance counselor at the high school.
"I'm really grateful for the school and administration for supporting my vision with what I wanted to do with the football program," Kaider said.
Mundelein's next coach will be the Mustangs' fifth since 2003. His task will not be easy. His vision, however, shouldn't stray from Kaider's.
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