Muhitch steps down at Wheaton Warrenville South
Wheaton Warrenville South icon Ron Muhitch is moving onto the next stage of his life.
His wife joked that it's about time "he graduated from high school."
After patrolling the sidelines for 41 years at Wheaton Warrenville South -- 22 as a defensive coordinator and 19 as the head coach -- Muhitch announced his retirement on Monday.
During Muhitch's coaching career at Wheaton Warrenville South, the Tigers won seven state championships, placed second four times and won 20 DuPage Valley Conference titles.
As the head coach for the Tigers, Muhitch posted a 153-63 mark, including 92-42 in conference play from 2002-2021. He won three state titles and two runners-up.
"My wife joked that I finally graduated high school because I've been walking the halls of Wheaton Warrenville South for over 40 years in some capacity, whether teaching or coaching," Muhitch said. "I loved it. Wheaton Warrenville South is a great high school. I built some great relationships. I made a commitment to a couple of families in the 2020 class at this time last year that I would stay when the kids were seniors.
"It was a fun ride, especially this year because the conference was a competitive group among the top four," he said. "I can remember being that young guy, trying to beat top program like Wheaton North in early days, when you get momentum in your program, you have to run with it. I could see quality new competition in this new conference."
Muhitch said he debated whether to come back for the truncated season, mainly because he currently lives in southwest Florida. But he wanted to have one last run with the Class of 2021. The Tigers notched a memorable victory over Batavia in Week 5 to finish with a 4-2 record this spring.
"I made commitment to a couple of families in 2020 class, did it at this time last year that I would stay when the kids are seniors," Muhitch said. "It turned out great. We enjoyed a tremendous spring season."
Wheaton Warrenville South graduate Reilly O'Toole was one of Muhitch's most accomplished players. O'Toole, a quarterback, guided the Tigers to 26 consecutive wins, including the Class 7A state championships in 2009 and 2010. He played five seasons at Illinois. O'Toole said Muhitch taught him the importance of leadership and accountability.
But O'Toole added Muhitch displayed a sense of humor from time to time, recalling a practice where the veteran coach made the team run the same play over and over "then he had one of the assistants bring over a soccer bench on the field and he just sat there until we ran the play right."
"(Coach) put a lot on the plate of the quarterback to get everyone on the same page," O'Toole said. "He had high expectations and was just one of those coaches you don't want to let down ... The (WW South) football program has a lot of tradition and Muhitch took a lot of pride in that tradition, not only cause he played a key role in many of those historic seasons, but he also wanted everyone to be proud to play at South.
"Muhitch will not only be a legend at Wheaton Warrenville South, but he will be one of the best Illinois coaches of all time. He's made such a positive impact on thousands of kids and deserves all the accolades coming his way."