As a high school athlete, Mike Koester was used to success.
He was a receiver for two football teams at Marengo High School that advanced to the IHSA state semifinals, and he played on a basketball team that advanced to the Sweet 16.
"By having that level of success in my high school career taught me some very important lessons I still carry with me today," Koester said.
Now he hopes to carry that success into his new job as the head coach for the Hoffman Estates girls basketball team.
He was recently hired for the job after serving as assistant varsity girls basketball coach and the head sophomore girls basketball coach at McHenry East (campus) High School for the past eight years.
He also has served as an assistant varsity football coach at the school from 2006-2012, working on the defensive side of the ball. He was the head freshmen football coach from 2009-2011, and the head sophomore football coach in 2012.
Prior to joining the McHenry staff in 2006, Koester worked at Lincoln (IL) Community High School from 2004-2006, teaching honors science classes and coaching football and swimming.
"After my first couple of seasons coaching girls basketball at McHenry I began to think seriously about being a head coach," said Koester, who played football and graduated from Carthage College with a bachelor's degree in biology in 2003. "From that point on, I began to try and pick up things that successful coaches do. And I tried to see how I could apply those things to my coaching portfolio."
Koester said his experiences at Marengo and then coaching at McHenry inspired him to move into coaching.
The coaches I played for in Marengo were great and there was a culture of expecting to be successful," he said. "They taught me that winning and losing is not what you should be focused on.
"Instead, it was to do your job to the best of your abilities. If every player did their best every play the winning would take care of itself."
That is what Koester will try to instill into his players at Hoffman.
"I was also taught that if you wanted something you had better be ready to work for it," he said. "Nothing worthwhile comes easy. Working with some great coaches, teachers and administrators in McHenry allowed me to grow as a teacher and a coach over the last eight years."
At Hoffman, he wants to see the girls compete every time they step on the floor.
"I want to help them reach their goals on and off the court," he said. "We want to compete every year in the Mid-Suburban League and in the postseason. I want every girl that goes through our program to leave knowing she worked as hard as she could to reach her goals and that the coaching staff worked just as hard to help them achieve those goals.
"I remind myself everyday before I step on the court or enter my classroom I'm here to help the students become better students, players and people."
Fittingly, Koester is a family-oriented person, the oldest of four siblings who were all very involved in sports,
"Growing up playing sports taught me the value of hard work and dedication," said Koester, who has a daughter and his wife is expecting another child soon. "I had great coaches growing up that made a huge impact on my life and steered me into the teaching and coaching field."
Dunne named All-American
Davenport junior shortstop KC Dunne (Buffalo Grove) was named to the NFCA NAIA all-American team, marking the second straight season a Panther made the top team selected by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
Dunne, who was named the WHAC Player of the Year, set single season school records for batting average (. 483) and triples (6) while posting stellar marks in slugging (. 801) and on-base percentage (. 533). She finished with 18 doubles to go along with six home runs and a team leading 47 RBI.
Dunne earned her spot as an at-large representative.
The Arlington Falcons ended their season with a 10-8 playoff loss to the New Trier High School club team.
The Falcons were led by Prospect's Justin Fedor (3 goals, 1 assist), Elk Grove's Connor Loughlin (2 goals), Hersey's Grant Burke (2 goals), Prospect's Matt Muzzillo (1 goal) and Hersey's Drake Lewis, a freshman goalkeeper who made 12 saves.
The Falcons finished with a 10-4 record, the best record in club history.
Other season highlights were winning three of four games and a third-place finish at the Washington Invitational Lacrosse Tournament in Washington, IL. along with playing for the first time at Hales Franciscan High School on the south side of Chicago.
The Falcons donated equipment to help start a boys lacrosse team at Hales.
Graduating seniors from the program are goalie Robert Fahy (Prospect), midfielder AJ Fisher (Burlington Central), midfield Zach McDermott (Prospect), defender Sam Mortellaro (Prospect), midfielder Matt Reinhardt (Prospect), midfielder Ben Sullivan (Prospect) along with four-year Arlington club players: defender Tim Brongiel (Prospect), midfielder Burke, attacker Fedor, midfielder Loughlin, midfielder Muzzillo and defender Matt Swedberg (Prospect).
The Falcons will be looking for new players for next season. For more information go to arlingtonfalconslacrosse.com.
Hole in One
Congratulations to Joe Saccomanno, who aced the 13th hole at Palatine Hills Golf Course on Saturday using his hybrid club to get his first hole in one.
Thanks for reading Sports Notes this past school year.
We will be back next fall to check up on our local collegiate athletes for the 2014-15 school year.
Have a nice summer!
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