Central Legacy

April 2019 View more

NCHS football coach Mike Stine

When Naperville Central football coach Mike Stine was inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame on March 30 in Champaign, he likely saw some familiar faces.

Stine, who has spent his entire 35-year career at Naperville Central, is the son of Hall of Fame coach Everett “Abe” Stine, who won 222 games and a state championship in 37 years at Byron, some 75 miles northwest of Naperville. The elder Stine and his wife Donna live in Texas, but spend the football season here attending all of their son’s games.

“It’s really special,” Stine says. “My dad is my idol and the one I try to model my coaching career after. I’ve been climbing to get to the top where he’s at.”

Stine has coached with several Hall of Famers, including Larry McKeon and John Jackson. He was an assistant coach when the Redhawks won the Class 6A state title in 1999, and succeeded Hall of Famer Joe Bunge as head coach in 2006.

“I think it’s awesome,” says Naperville Central assistant coach Andy Nussbaum, who has worked with Stine for 25 years. “It’s hard to follow a Hall of Famer, and it’s hard to live up to your dad, but Mike has done that and then some.

“He’s been so great for our football program and our school. There are a lot of things that go on in our football program that people don’t know about, and the positive things that happen are due to Mike Stine’s good, solid core values.”

In 13 seasons, Stine has guided the Redhawks to a 95-44 record, including the 2013 Class 8A state championship. He rises before 5 a.m. every day to work with his players.

“I don’t feel like I’ve gone to work a day in my life,” says Stine, who also coaches girls track. “The reward is having an impact on kids’ lives and trying to help kids grow into positive young adults. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Photo by Colleen Abrahamovich