Former Palatine athletic director Dobbs was a natural-born hall of famer

Jerry Dobbs’ destiny seemed to be cast even before his 23-year career as athletic director at Palatine High School.

His father, Clifford Dobbs, had been inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1995.

At downstate Illinois schools DeLand-Weldon and Sullivan, Jerry’s alma mater, his father coached multiple sports, was athletic director, drove team buses. A popular man about town, Cliff Dobbs inspired his son’s career.

Breaking into education in 1986 at Western High School in Buda — “right into the frying pan,” Jerry said, as industrial arts teacher and both football and boys basketball head coach — Dobbs then coached at Taylorville and taught at Rochester high schools.

At Taylorville he joined his brother, Curt. In 2018, Curt Dobbs was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame for coaching girls basketball there and at Richland County High School in Olney.

In 1993 Jerry Dobbs made his way up to Lake Zurich High School, where he met his future wife, Alison.

“I grew up in a county (Moultrie County) where there was only one stoplight. So to move to Chicago was a big difference to me,” Dobbs said.

After a year at Lake Zurich and three more as dean and assistant principal at Schaumburg, in 1997 he arrived at Palatine.

In addition to his predecessor as the school’s athletic director, Doug Chapman, his peers included Washington Bush (Conant), Jack Drollinger (Fremd), John Selke (Schaumburg), Bill Sissel (Hoffman Estates), and District 211 athletic director Don Crandall.

All are in the Illinois Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame.

“There were six hall of fame athletic directors I was working with at the time. So it was hard to screw that one up, right?” Dobbs said.


Honoring his 23-year career as AD, which ended with his 2020 retirement, Dobbs was inducted into the IADA Hall of Fame on May 4 at the IADA state conference in Peoria.

Dobbs is proud that under his watch Palatine in 1999 was among the first in the northwest suburbs to start an athletic hall of fame.

The Illinois High School Association girls state gymnastics meet was held at Palatine throughout his career. Track and cross country events such as the Palatine Relays and Distance Night in Palatine made the school a destination not only locally but regionally.

He also took numerous leadership roles for the IADA and the IHSA.

Dobbs said when he was at Sullivan there were five boys sports and three girls sports. When he retired, Palatine offered 31 sports.

“It was a lot more managing than I thought it would be, but I enjoyed it,” he said.

“Working with all the coaches at Palatine High School and all the other athletic directors in the suburban area is what made it so rewarding.”

Jerry and Alison Dobbs now live near Chattanooga, Tennessee, and await the birth this month of their first grandchild, from their daughter, Carrie, in Oxford, Mississippi.

They’ve got a son, Brandon, who works at Driftless Glen in Baraboo, Wisconsin, a combination restaurant-whiskey distillery.

Jerry Dobbs does a lot of fishing and golfing. When first reached for this story, he was feeding fish in a pond.

Like a spring chicken

Paul Parpet was doing one of the things he loves best, teaching football, for Metea Valley at Naperville North’s Windy City Classic 7-on-7 on June 27.

Metea’s defensive coordinator, Parpet is in his second year helping his nephew, head coach John Parpet.

In his 51st year coaching football the hall of famer showed no rust or malaise as he directed Mustangs players in classic full-throat fashion.

Looking years younger than his age, Paul Parpet is in his second season since triple-bypass surgery in December 2022.

“Plus two brand-new hips,” said a Metea coach on the sideline.

ICCP loses a good one

Nancy Kerrigan, who has led IC Catholic Prep girls volleyball to at least the Sweet Sixteen seven times in 10 years since taking over the program from mentor Jean Field in 2014, resigned on Monday.

A 2011 ICCP Hall of Fame inductee who played on Field’s 1984 Class A championship team as a senior, Kerrigan most recently coached the Knights to consecutive Class 2A runner-up finishes in 2022 and 2023.

“Obviously it’s about getting great young ladies into the program and then I think the culture drives it from there,” Kerrigan said of the program’s success, which began in 1979 under Field.

“And great coaches, you’re only as good as those you surround yourself with,” Kerrigan said. “I have what I consider the best mentor in the business, and I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by some of the best coaches in the business.”

Kerrigan, who thanked her children Delaney and Devin for their support, said she was going to take time off and focus on her “real job,” an information technology manager for Advocate Health. In an email announcing her resignation, she said down the road she may consider further coaching opportunities.

A three-sport athlete who went on to play volleyball at Marquette, Kerrigan coached with the Knights 22 years, including from 2002-13 as an assistant. She helped Field to the 2A title in Field’s final season.

Like most coaches you ask, Kerrigan cherishes relationships more than titles.

“Honestly as a coach some of my favorite memories occur after players leave, when they reach out and send you a text or come to a match and they speak to how impactful the program was on their life after high school,” she said.

Taking a mulligan

In the early 1970s, Glen Ellyn resident Jim Ozog was an Evans Scholar at Northwestern University. Part of the Class of 1974, he missed his college graduation ceremony to serve as best man at a friend’s wedding.

This spring, though, he walked at the United Center with Northwestern’s Evans Scholars Class of 2024. Ozog is now a director for the Glenview-based Western Golf Association, which supports the Evans Scholars Foundation.

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