There have been personnel changes aplenty at Wheaton Academy over the past couple of years. None have been as interesting and even heartwarming as the imminent departure of Andrew Tink.
A coach, teacher and administrator at the West Chicago school since his 2006 debut as a student teacher out of Wheaton College, the upbeat Tink has been a Wheaton Academy athletic director these last two years. He will leave that position when his contract expires July 31.
He, his wife, Emily, and their three young daughters will head to his native Iowa, where Tink will return to work in a third-generation family business, Young Plumbing and Heating, in his hometown of Waterloo.
Founded by two men including his grandfather, Arnold Becker, who immigrated from Germany after World War II, Tink's father, Mark, is now a partner in the business.
Strengthening that bond is what attracted Andrew to return to the job for the first time since summer break from college.
"I love my job, our coaches, this place," Tink said of Wheaton Academy. "In some ways I couldn't ask for a better job. So it wasn't a case of, 'Is this a better job, would I rather do this?' but more a case of, if I stay here and if I don't go work with my dad, am I going to regret it?"
He'll only turn 31 on April 13, but after spending much more time on basketball courts and in classrooms than installing sump pumps over the last decade, Tink admitted, "I've got a lot to learn."
Dave Underwood, who on March 18 opened the Wheaton Academy girls soccer season with his 100th victory as coach and led the Warriors to the first of their two state titles, will move into the athletic office. He will remain as soccer coach.
"I'm not ready to give that up yet," Underwood wrote in an email.
Tink is ready, for the best of reasons. Before he leaves, though, he's excited to see construction start on Wheaton Academy's new outdoor stadium and track, and new tennis courts. He plans on returning this August for the Warriors' first home football game under lights and if nothing else he'll have kid brothers Aaron and Jonathan in Wheaton to give him updates.
Tink calls his departure "bittersweet" given the people and aspects of Wheaton Academy he'll miss. But as he "thinks about the next stages of life," this is one chance he won't deny.
"I didn't want to regret not taking the opportunity to work with my dad," he said.
Illinois' first family of high school football coaches just got bigger.
Matt Monken, a former 12-year assistant coach at Bolingbrook, became the ninth Monken to be a high school head football coach in the state when York announced his hiring on Wednesday.
Matt is the cousin of Ted Monken, who on Jan. 21 was hired at West Chicago, and the son of retired Charleston coach Bill Monken, one of six Monkens inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
A quarterback at Charleston and for the last eight seasons Bolingbrook's offensive coordinator, Matt Monken helping the Raiders win the 2011 Class 8A championship and six Southwest Suburban Blue titles.
Monken emerged from a list of more than 70 applicants to succeed former Dukes coach Steve Nye. An article by Brian Nielsen of the downstate Journal Gazette & Times-Courier said Monken was initially contacted by York to interview for the spot.
Monken, who also will teach physical education at York, assumes a Dukes squad that went 3-6 overall last season and 1-5 in the West Suburban Conference's Silver Division.
The University of Illinois men's track team made a splash Tuesday when it announced a group of 10 high school seniors who will join the Illini program.
They include defending Class 3A 400-meter winner Matt Burns of Willowbrook; two-time cross country all-stater Zack Smith of Downers Grove North; the top runner on Hinsdale Central's championship cross team, Billy Magnesen; and cross country all-stater Luke Schroer of Wheaton Warrenville South.
Others included a high jumper who has jumped 7-foot-2, Grant's Jonathon Wells; and Pekin's defending Class 3A long jump, 100 and 200 champ, Cole Henderson.
Fifth in the country
In a follow-up to last week's item on the Windy City Warriors wheelchair basketball team, they went on to place sixth at the national tournament in Louisville.
Coach Robb Thomas' Warriors opened their play in the Junior Division-Varsity bracket last Thursday with a 38-32 win over Grand Rapids, then lost their second game to Nebraska, 46-41. On Friday they beat a team out of Seattle, 52-37 but lost to Dallas in the fifth-place game, 63-45.
Kyle Gribble, an Elgin High senior committed to play wheelchair ball at Wisconsin-Whitewater, was a first-team all-tourney pick.
Welcome to the club
This Thursday, at the usual locale of the Crystal Sky Banquet Hall in McCook, the East Suburban Catholic Conference inducted its ninth class into the ESCC Hall of Fame.
We'd mentioned before that retiring Benet girls basketball coach Peter Paul would be going in but at the time didn't have all the inductees.
Benet also will be represented by Dan Nagis. He's spent 33 of his 44 years at Benet as the Redwings' boys golf coach. Nagis directed nine ESCC championships and four downstate trips, including last fall's fifth-place Class 3A finish. He's had four all-state golfers, including Matt Rogers, who placed 14th overall at Fox Creek in Bloomington in October.
The Illinois High School Association announced its officials of the year in late March. Among the locals, Barb Oczkowicz of Carol Stream was the honoree for girls gymnastics and Bob Copas of Elmhurst for baseball.
They and the recipients representing 18 other IHSA sports will be recognized at a July banquet at the Peoria Civic Center.
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