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updated: 1/16/2013 10:06 PM

Plackett gains national honor, and other news

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Congratulations are due Jeff Plackett. The coach of the Naperville Central girls water polo team was recently named 2012 Illinois coach of the year by the National Federation of High Schools Coaches Association. He earned Illinois High School Association coach of the year honors last fall.

Plackett's Redhawks set a state record with 34 victories in 2012 and earned a second state runner-up finish, their fourth trophy in five seasons. He has a career mark of 270-58. Though IHSA records have Plackett fourth all-time in coaching wins, his victories would follow only the 311 of Fenwick's John Wagner since the IHSA sanctioned girls water polo as a state series in 2002.

Plackett said his mother was going to reward him with a family dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. He was going to reward himself with a trip this weekend to Ann Arbor, Mich., to see 2012 Redhawks graduates Julia Campbell and Emily Sejna at the Michigan Kick-off against the likes of defending NCAA third-place finisher UCLA.

Congratulations II

When writing last week about Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association awardees, we failed to mention several local honorees. Jim Rice, Jay Wright and Rich Miller each were presented with Distinguished Service awards last Saturday at the annual ITCCCA clinic and hall of fame ceremony.

Big Leaguer

From Lisle baseball coach Pete Meyer comes exciting news about the 2013 Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Clinic and Hall of Fame dinner, Jan. 25-26, at the Westin Hotel in Lombard. Among the lineup of speakers is certain future Major League Baseball Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa, the four-time manager of the year who began his 33-year managerial career with the White Sox in 1979. (Thanks,

LaRussa led the Oakland A's to the 1989 World Series championship, won a second with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005 and went out on top with the Cardinals in 2011. A .199 hitter who went on to win 2,728 games, third in MLB history, LaRussa will speak from 1-1:45 p.m. Saturday at the clinic. Attendees must be IHSBCA members ($30) and must act quickly, by Friday. Directions are available at, in the "membership" section.

The event also is exciting because the Daily Herald's John Lemon will be recognized as the association's media "Man of the Year." Wheaton North's Dan Schoessling will be presented the IHSBCA Les Miller Man of the Year, while Neuqua Valley assistant John Fumagalli is the most-deserving assistant coach of the year. Like many others, "Fumo" could win it every year.

Pigskin picks

DuPage Valley Conference offensive lineman of the year and Iowa recruit Colin Goebel of Naperville North has been selected to play in the fourth annual Under-19 International Bowl, Feb. 5 in Austin, Texas. Goebel, a two-time all-state pick, had 45 pancake blocks last season with 10 blocks that sprung Huskie touchdowns. He's the second Naperville North player selected by USA Football in two years, following Boston College linebacker Nick Lifka in 2011.

Wheaton North is hosting its ninth annual Falcon Football Clinic to coaches starting with registration at 8 a.m. Saturday. Registration is $30 at the door per coach.

Running past 2 p.m. with a social in Winfield to follow, speakers include Illinois' winningest prep coach, Mt. Carmel's Frank Lenti, Wheaton College defensive line coach Jeff Peltz, Loyola Academy coach and former Buffalo Bills linebacker John Holecek, Marcus High's Bryan Erwin out of Texas and the Falcons' wonderful line coach, Paul Connor.

It might get loud

As a follow-up to last week's item about St. Francis' Spartans Fathers Club and its good deed spreading toys and holiday cheer to children at Central DuPage Hospital, the Father's Club is hosting its next meeting Thursday at Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton. Speaking at the event is none other than media personality and Daily Herald columnist Mike North.

Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1

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