More to Stine's success than victories

  • Naperville Central football coach Mike Stine holds the first day of practice on Monday.

      Naperville Central football coach Mike Stine holds the first day of practice on Monday. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Updated 2/20/2019 7:56 PM

The success on the football field is clear.

Four DuPage Valley Conference titles in the last five years. A .664 winning percentage, 10 playoff appearances in 13 seasons. The 2013 Class 8A title.


Only part of Naperville Central coach Mike Stine's true goal.

"If you're always going to base your success on wins and losses, 50 percent of the coaches are going to lose on Friday night. But if you base it on teaching life lessons, we can all win 100 percent of the time," he said.

That's the spirit Stine will humbly bring to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame Banquet on March 30 in Champaign, among six active head coaches to be inducted. Overall the 2019 class includes familiar names Joe DiCanio, Mike Noll and Jeff Reents.

"I've coached with Larry McKeon, Stan Gruszka, John Jackson, John Urban, Joe Bunge. All those are in the hall of fame. That's who I've been around. It's been a true blessing," said Stine, whose coaching career began as an assistant to McKeon at Naperville North in 1984.

There are seven father-son combinations in the IHSFCA Hall, only two where both generations have won state titles: Jim Unruh at Carthage and his father, Paul, at West Chicago; and Stine and his father, Everett, inducted in 1993.

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"My dad is what I've based my whole career around, what I've tried to follow, tried to mold," said Mike Stine, a placekicker for the University of Illinois in its early-1980s heyday. "I've used his model for what he's done with coaching and the things he's tried to instill in the coaches and athletes around him. He's been a huge mentor for me."

At Byron, where in 2012 the stadium was dedicated in his honor, Everett Stine went 222-130-6 from 1967-2003 and won the 1999 Class 3A title. Mike played running back and quarterback for his father. Years later he escorted the old coach off the field one last time.

In 37 seasons Mike's mother, Donna, missed one Byron game. Lightning postponed a game till Saturday and she went to Champaign to watch her son. She's barely missed any of her son's games.

"If my dad's in the hall of fame, if I'm in the hall of fame, I think my mom should be in the hall of fame, too," Mike said.


In 2006, promoted to Naperville Central's coach from offensive coordinator following Bunge's retirement, Mike Stine installed the family football philosophy.

Mother-son week preceding the season opener. Father-son night. Education appreciation night. Thursday night bonfires featuring motivational messages by athletes, veterans, politicians, Medal of Honor winners -- these transferred father to son, program to program.

Mike Stine never piled his linemen into a hog trailer that rocked and rolled into Memorial Stadium like his dad did at Byron (though we'd love to see it), but he has spearheaded nearly $90,000 in donations via the annual Crosstown Classic Blackout for Easter Seals.

"It's a family thing, it's not just a player thing," said Everett Stine, reached in the motor home he and Donna live in most of the year in McAllen, Texas. They've also got a place around Dallas near their other son, Mark, but every August Everett and Donna drive to Illinois for football season and to be with Mike and Jackie Stine.

"You get the mothers involved to help organize all this," Everett Stine said. "Mike does it and I did it in my program. You want families to feel good about what they have done, whether you win or lose. You always want to win, but you have look at the bigger picture."

That means using football as a tool to help boys grow into men.

Mike Stine is in his last year as a physical education teacher and Redhawks girls track coach but intends to add to his 95-48 football record. And the family legacy.

"Yeah, we've won some football games," he said. "But I'm more proud of when former players come back and say, Coach, you've made a difference in my life."

An odd aside

Believe it or not, Mike and Jackie Stine's son, Adam, is Kiss bassist Gene Simmons' personal assistant when the band is on tour.

A 2009 Neuqua Valley graduate, Adam Stine got connected to Simmons while working for the Los Angeles Kiss, the now-defunct Arena Football League team owned in part by Kiss' Simmons and Paul Stanley. St. Francis football coach Bob McMillen, the L.A. Kiss' first coach, got him the job.

Welch's great boost

As we reported in boys basketball notes of Feb. 7, Naperville North senior Tom Welch organized an event to raise funds and awareness for the Team Karen Foundation around the Huskies' Feb. 12 game against Rich East. The Team Karen Foundation provides financial and overall support for those fighting Stage 4 breast cancer.

Through donations and sales of cancer awareness wristbands Welch donated more than $1,000 to Team Karen. It actually worked out to about $34 for each of the 30 points he scored.

"And we got the 'W,' so it was a great afternoon," Welch said.

Ms. Muscle

Today, so to speak, nationals. Tomorrow it's the worlds for Lake Park freshman Abby Raymond.

Last weekend Raymond competed at USA Weightlifting's 2019 National Junior Championships at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center, a bookings coup for the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau.

In the last Junior World qualifier for the USA team, Raymond got it done. In June she'll compete at the International Weightlifting Federation Junior World Championships in Suva, Fiji.

In her 59-kilogram class she placed second with a top snatch of 78 kilograms and a clean and jerk of 100 for a total of 178 kilograms. It was an improvement of 12 kilograms since Raymond lifted at the American Open Finals in Milwaukee in December.

"I'm really proud with how it went. I wasn't peaking for it, so I just trained through. I plan on bigger numbers at Worlds," said the Roselle girl, a mass consumer of vegetables and protein shakes.

At 15 Raymond is among the youngest ever selected for a USA Weightlifting Junior World squad. She'll tune up at the IWF Youth World Championships March 11 in Las Vegas. Like the old song goes, she's been everywhere, man.

Since quitting gymnastics, getting proper weight training from a team that includes former Team USA coach Roger Nielsen, and finally relinquishing soccer last spring -- "I was never very good at it, I was just good at knocking people down," she said -- Raymond's competed from Austin to Anaheim, Colorado Springs to Columbus, Ohio.

In December 2017 she won six gold medals, two bronze and a silver at the South American Junior & Youth Weightlifting Championships in Lima, Peru, her first international competition. Her second came last June, setting two Youth American records at the Youth Pan American Championships in Palmira, Columbia.

In all the high honor roll student has broken 16 American youth records in less than four years of weight training.

"I plan on breaking more records in June," she said.

Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1

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