Mike Stine has a state championship to his name as a football coach and will soon be leaving Central as its football and girls track coach. This feature is presented by Edward Medical Group.
“This has been home for me this has been a place I haven’t taught here for two years but I still spend close to six hours here everyday I love this place I love Naperville Central I’m gonna miss the friendships that’s what I’m gonna miss”
On Friday April 23rd 2021 Naperville Central Head Football Coach Mike Stine gave the Redhawks his final pregame speech before the season finale matchup against Maine South. Due to the increase of COVID 19 cases in Illinois the IHSA pushed Football to the spring allowing only 6 weeks of competition and no State playoffs. Despite the big adjustments Stine still approached the spring like any other Football season
“It felt normal in fact for a lot of us it felt like it was the fall you kinda had to like look at the calendar and say what month are we in and again Football coaches like most sports are very routine and oriented so once we get into the grind to Football it took us right back to what we are us to normally doing”
Stine began his coaching journey with the Redhawks in 1986 as an assistant after spending 2 years as an assistant coach with Naperville North and Benedictine University. As an assistant, Central finished as the state runner up in 1995 and 2001, while winning the state championship with an undefeated season in 1999. In 2006 the time came for Mike Stine to take the head coaching position following the retirement of legendary head coach Joe Bunge. However, Stine’s tenure as head coach did not get off to the greatest start.
The Redhawks began 2006 with an 0-3 record. Although the team managed to win 8 straight games before falling to powerhouse Mount Carmel in the State Quarterfinals. From that point on, Stine and his Redhawk teams were a consistent presence in the state tournament. Making the playoffs in 11 of his 15 seasons including six appearances in the quarter finals, two state semi finals and of course the state championship victory over Loyola in 2013. While having great success on the gridiron many of his former players like Bobby McMillen and Jake always looked up to their coach as a role model.
“He’s a guy who loves to put in the time and effort to make this thing great and he has made Central football a great thing and it’s I’m forever grateful to have played for him and have gotten these 2 years to coach under him and learn from him he’s so good at what he does Central is forever gonna be better because he was apart of it”
“Coach Stine as you can see is a natural leader of young men that has the ability to bring a group of guys that don’t really know eachother and they grew up together whatever it is and bring them together for one common goal and that’s to be successful of the a Football program as you can at Naperville Central”
Football was not the only sport where Stine showed his coaching acumen. He was also the head coach of the girl’s track team during his time at Naperville Central, taking the role of George Cyr after the program was in serious jeopardy of being dropped altogether. At first, one staff coached the boys and girls track teams but later on the girls team was able to add in more core coaches to give the girls the instruction they needed to succeed. Before hanging up the track whistle in 2019, Stine had the privilege to coach many great athletes including Amanda Fox, Tina Morris and three time state champion Casey Short. So why Football and Girls Track out of all sports? His dad Everett Stine also coached Football and Girls Track during his time at Byron High School. Ever since stepping into the coaching boat, Stine used his dad for inspiration.
“He’s the mountain I’m climbing and we’ve had some parallels in out coaching career he’s my role model he’s my rock who I when I grow up I wanna be my dad that’s what I’ve said once I was 5 years old and I’m still trying to grow up and be my dad”
Fast-forward to his final game as head coach and it turned into a night he will never forget. Naperville Central took a 31-24 lead after a Jaden McGill touchdown plunge but the Maine South Hawks responded with a wild last minute touchdown of their own. Maine South just needed an extra point to tie but (NAT Sound) Shane Roth burst through the line and blocked the PAT to seal the 31-30 victory for the Red and White. After a thrilling win to end the 2021 spring season Coach Stine ends his head-coaching career with over 100 wins. While all good things come to end, this will be a journey that neither the veteran coach nor the thousands of athletes he inspired, will ever forget.
“It feels like it’s for a lifetime because we all have things that go on in our lives different chapters in our life and I’m know different we all have different chapters it’s gone by in a blink but it’s also when I slow it down in my mind it’s been a fantastic, wonderful journey”
Reporting for Naperville Sports Weekly I’m Patrick Codo