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updated: 9/1/2011 11:54 PM

Heckmann follows winning example at Wauconda

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By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent

It was one crazy summer for Patrick Heckmann.

Maybe it was all for the better in the long run.

Heckmann had been an assistant in the Wauconda boys soccer program for the last few years, and before that had been a graduate of the school, class of n'92.

Between those Wauconda stints, Heckmann attended Northern Illinois and spent a year with a school in Chicago before making his way back home.

Then, one Saturday in late June, he was about to enjoy watching the Gold Cup Final between USA and Mexico at the house of another Wauconda coach, David Heinrich

The longtime boys soccer coach Terry Stevig walked in for the gathering and dropped a big surprise.

"(Terry Stevig) comes in and blurts out that he just turned in his resignation," Heckmann said. "We were all dumbfounded. We knew it would be at some point, but this wasn't his style. All of it had to happen right before our summer camp ... "

Heckmann was asked to take over the coaching spot. Forutnately, 12 years of coaching experience, including several with the freshman and junior varsity, prepared him for the opportunity.

"I learned quite a bit from Terry Stevig," Heckmann said. "Terry had a low-key attitude. It didn't matter if you were up by 5 goals or down by 5 goals. He wouldn't argue with the referees and never got excited. Kids appreciated him and were always ready to listen.

"It will be hard to fill his shoes. His record speaks for itself. I'll try to do my own thing and take what I have learned from him."

Stevig over the years never seemed interested in touting his own overall record. But with some help from the school, the best information suggests Stevig was 1 win short of 400. He had 399 victories, 366 losses and 66 ties, combined between boys and girls coaching.

Stevig took over the boys program in 1992 and missed one fall with the loss of a family member. But Stevig also coached the girls since 1995.

Over the span of almost two decades, Stevig regularly took the program to North Suburban Conference championship games. In boys soccer, his teams lost twice in shootout kicks to the Lake Division champ, which remains the closest a Prairie Division team has come to winning for the last 10 years.

According to Heckmann, Stevig never played soccer when he was younger. Instead, he played football and was a lineman. Stevig got involved into soccer courtesy of his kids and began coaching at Wauconda almost 20 years ago.

"One thing, Terry used to pass along is that everybody contributes," Heckmann said. "Everybody should benefit being a part of the team.

"Terry would care more about the assist, and he always talked about the defense."