Written by Dave Oberhelman / Daily Herald News – Every summer, Wheaton Warrenville South football coach Ron Muhitch finds the time to make home visits to each senior player. He discusses their hopes, their goals, offers to do anything he can to maximize their prospects, football-related or not.
Muhitch doesn’t have to do this. He does it, he said, “to get kids to look beyond the now.”
His immediate future includes a trip to Champaign. On April 7 he’ll be inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame to highlight a 38-year career with the Tigers — 22 as an assistant — that includes 13 overall DuPage Valley Conference titles, seven state championships and four second-place finishes. Into his 17th year as head coach, Muhitch owns a 131-55 record, seven DVC titles, three state titles, two runners-up.
“We never got in the playoffs until 1988 and in 1988 the belief started to match the expectations,” said Muhitch, joining two other inductees with DuPage County ties, John Jackson and J. Randy Hofman. The latter also coached Wheaton Central freshmen in 1976 when Muhitch arrived as a student teacher out of Wheaton College.
He was a three-year varsity fullback-linebacker from football-mad DuBois, Pennsylvania, with a full ride to Lehigh. Instead he attended Wheaton, a four-year starter.
He’s coached Tigers softball and as defensive coordinator for fellow IHSFCA Hall of Famer John Thorne created a football dynasty. Taking over the reins in 2002, Muhitch has produced myriad college players and been recognized regionally and nationally.
Yet he feels his work as department chair of physical education, driver’s education and health from 1988-2014, helping move PE curriculum from athletic performance to fitness-based, was his true calling.
Maybe a late-1970s job helping troubled youth in a California Outward Bound program inspired him; maybe it was his wife, Sheri, whom he met in 1990 while she taught autistic children at Wheaton Central. Maybe it was simply Muhitch, more than a great football coach.
“I’ve always thought that I was an educator first and my priority was teaching and servicing kids and families in the community,” he said.
Follow Dave Oberhelman on Twitter @doberhelman1