Pistorio, Cowhey latest among new area football coaches

The area football coaching carousel ended late last week

The final of seven head coaching openings was filled with the recent hirings of Pat Pistorio at South Elgin and Johnny Cowhey at Mundelein.

Pistorio is making a return engagement to South Elgin. He will replace Dragan Teonic who resigned just after Christmas after six successful seasons for the Storm.

The irony is that Teonic replaced Pistorio, after Pistorio resigned in 2018. Pistorio was head coach at South Elgin for five seasons and left to take a similar position at Niles North.

Pistorio was the head coach at Niles North for three seasons. He stepped down in 2021 after the COVID spring season with a record of 7-15.

Pistorio returns to the Storm where his team had success during his tenure. While at South Elgin, Pistorio was 29-19 with two playoff appearances.

Cowhey’s hiring was an internal hire at Mundelein. Cowhey was the head sophomore coach and part of the staff of Vince DeFrancesco, who resigned after five seasons. Cowhey was approved at a special board meeting in late March.

Cowhey will take over a Mundelein program that has been on the rise. The Mustangs, who have not been to the playoffs since 2004, won their first four games last season, then lost their final five games to just miss qualifying.

York also stayed internal for its new head coach. The Dukes announced two weeks ago that defensive coordinator Don Gelsomino would be elevated to head coach.

Gelsomino took over for Mike Fitzgerald who left York to become the head coach at Marist.

Gelsomino, who previously was a head coach at Ridgewood for three seasons, joined York in 2019.

He became the Dukes’ defensive coordinator in 2020. His defense allowed just 14 points per game during that stint while York compiled a 35-7 record including a pair of Class 8A semifinal appearances the last two seasons.

Marmion turned to a veteran. Adam Guerra, who was the head coach at St. Patrick for five seasons, will take over for Dan Thorpe, who retired after 19 years as head coach. Thorpe had 10 playoff appearances including a second-place finish in 2010 in 6A.

Guerra, who is originally from California and coached there for four years, has been out of coaching for the last two seasons. He was 19-25 in his five seasons at St. Patrick. In his final year, his team was 7-5 and advanced to the quarterfinals in Class 5A. But the Shamrocks opted to go in a different direction after that season and hired former Lake Zurich coach Luke Mertens.

Streamwood also went back to the future in hiring its new coach. The Sabres are bringing back Don Guidon, who was head coach for five seasons from 2015-19.

Guidon, who was 9-36 during that time, had been an assistant coach at South Elgin. He replaces Keith McMaster, who stepped down after four seasons.

Maine East brought a new head coach to take the Blue Demons in a new direction.

Jerald Biggs, who was an assistant coach at Rich Township for 9 seasons and was the defensive coordinator there, was announced as Maine East’s coach in February. He replaces Robert Winkel who stepped down after six seasons.

The highest profile hire in the area, and most likely the state, was made a few weeks ago. That’s when Rolling Meadows announced that former Chicago Bear Robbie Gould would be new head coach of the Mustangs.

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