Mishler steps down at Rolling Meadows
It was always about 100 percent for Rolling Meadows football coach Matt Mishler.
Like most coaches, Mishler demanded 100 percent from his players. In return, Mishler made sure he gave 100 percent back to them. He always told himself that when the day came he couldn't give back what he was asking for, he would step away.
That day came Tuesday, when Mishler submitted his resignation as head coach at Rolling Meadows. He met with his players and coaches to inform them about his decision.
"It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make," said Mishler, who is 42 and will stay on at Rolling Meadows and continue to teach math.
"In the end it became clear to me that I could not give 100 percent to this. There is nothing negative that is making me step away. I have always asked 100 percent out of our players and coaches. I have been doing this for 18 years and it does take a toll. My kids are getting older and my family is getting older. Knowing that I can't give it everything, I have come to that realization to step away."
Mishler said his family, who was always on sidelines to greet him after a game, was supportive of his decision.
"They loved that I loved being at Rolling Meadows," Mishler said. "It was certainly something that I came to on my own. I missed a lot of things in 18 years of coaching football."
Mishler took the Mustangs to the playoffs in each of his 9 years as head coach while compiling a 72-25 record. His teams won the Mid-Suburban East seven times during his tenure, including the past two seasons.
Meadows had its best season in school history this past fall, winning a school record 12 games. The Mustangs also had their deepest playoff run, going to the semifinals in the Class 7A playoffs before losing to Nazareth Academy to finish 12-1.
Mishler was the offensive coordinator at Rolling Meadows for one season after coming over from Wheeling, where he held the same position for eight previous seasons. He joined the Mustangs the season after San Francisco 49ers and Meadows graduate Jimmy Garoppolo's final high school season.
Rolling Meadows assistant principal Lisa DaRocha, who Mishler submitted his resignation to, said Mishler leaves the football program in a good place.
"So important is the life lessons he taught our athletes," DaRocha said. "They are better young men leaving football and our program. It is a testament to what he has done with these kids on daily basis. He preaches brotherhood and a family atmosphere and that is truly what he believes."
Rolling Meadows senior Nate Pedraza, who played for Mishler on the varsity for four years and will play at Ball State next season, was surprised.
"I was shocked," Pedraza said. "He is Rolling Meadows to me. Every conversation we had, I would be able to use it in life or on the football field. It is an end of an era here."
Mishler said that is has always been all about the kids.
"I am always going to talk about the kids," Mishler said. "I loved coaching them. We had really good, solid high school football players at Meadows. Our staff, from the ground on up, those guys are amazing. They were a big part of the success we had. The community has been awesome. They have welcomed us with open arms and been very supportive."