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Who are We?

A State Coaching Organization that is intent on representing all coaches of the state of Illinois. Founded 1928; continuous service to date. National Affiliation - (NHSACA) National High School Athletic Coaches Assoc., (NOCAD) National Association of Coaches Association Directors, (NHSFCA) National High School Football Coaches Alliance   

Executive Director Column

Drew Potthoff Executive Director


Hello Everyone and Welcome to the ICA Website! 

To say that last year was challenging for coaches, athletes, parents, school administrators and the Illinois Coaches Association would be a huge understatement. As we launch into the 2021-2022 school year, I hope everyone is safe and healthy. It is so exciting to see sports in Illinois back in full swing this fall. The feeling of seeing the kids and coaches on the fields and in the gyms again is one of exhilaration and pride. We still have obstacles and challenges to overcome as we progress through this year, but the resiliency of our coaches, athletes, school administrators and the Illinois High School Association will see us through to a very safe and successful year.

A huge shout out to Craig Anderson and his IHSA staff for standing steadfast in supporting our athletes and coaches throughout all the ups and downs that we experienced last year. To be able to finish the 2020-2021 year with our athletes being able to compete is short of phenomenal. With their diligence and commitment to high school sports, the IHSA and their Board of Directors guided everyone through the stormy waters of last year. On behalf of the Illinois Coaches Association, I say thank you and great job IHSA!

I am happy to say that the Illinois Coaches Association has also weathered the storm of last year, and we are on our way back serving all the coaches and athletes in all sports in Illinois. We made it through last year without having to cut any of the benefits we offer our memberships, including still being able to award all six scholarships for members’ children. Check out the winners on our scholarship page in this issue of the TORCH.

We are very excited to let you know that we are adding an awesome new benefit to the already great list of membership benefits. All our members are eligible to exclusive FREE access to Coach & Athletic Director magazine, which includes the All-Sport Education Series from Proactive CoachingCoaching for Significance. This new benefit includes:

  • FREE year-long access to digital editions of Coach & Athletic Director Magazine
    • Normal Digital Subscription – $9.95 annually per coach
  • FREE Podcasts featuring Proactive Coaching Series – Coaching for Significance
  • Eligible to submit photos to Coach & Athletic Director Magazine of facility upgrades, sideline coaching, and in game action shots for an opportunity to be featured in issues of the publication.
  • FREE year-long access to digital editions of Training & Conditioning Magazine

See the complete offerings for this new benefit on the ICA Benefits Page in this issue.

As always, the Illinois Coaches Association is here to serve the coaches and athletes of all sports in Illinois. If there is anything we can help you with, please feel free to contact me. Have a great fall season and a great school year!


Now is that time to renew your membership in the ICA if you have not already done so. We are still offering the same school and sport association discounted membership at $9.00.


Drew Potthoff
Executive Director
Illinois Coaches Association




Coaches, in the end, our career W/L record just won’t matter. 
It won’t be what we will want others to remember us by. 
All that will matter will be who we helped, how we went about it
& the lasting impression we left on those who crossed our path.

Live each day with that in mind.

What the ICA Offers and Member Benefits

  • The ICA Newsletter ‘The Torch’ times a year
  • $2,000,000 Liability Insurance Policy
  • NEW! FREE access to Coach & Athletic Director magazine digital editions, which includes the All-Sport Education Series from Proactive CoachingCoaching for Significance. 
  • Discount on Accident/Medical Insurance for participants in sports camps (Available to Illinois Coaches Association Members Only)
  • Illinois Coach of the Year Awards and membership in the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA)
  • Eligibility of Son or Daughter to Compete for one of five $750 Scholarships Annually
  • Eligibility of Son or Daughter to compete for our new “Memorial Scholarship” for $500
  • Eligibility to nominate athletes for the ICA/Shrine Football All Star game & All Star Baseball game
  • Sponsorship of All Star Activities in Football and Baseball since 1975 
  • ICA Golf Clinic and Golf Hall of Fame Banquet
  • Serve the Illinois High School Association by helping in various activities. 

Job Openings 2021-2022

Resurrection High School

Girls Varsity Throw Coach
Girls Lacrosse Coach
Girls Soccer Coach
Girls Assistant Volleyball Coach

Interested candidates can contact Athletic Director Mr. Eddie Kane at or 773-775-6616 x134.



IHSFCA Virtual Football Coaches Clinic


It is with great enthusiasm that your Illinois High School Football Coaches Association (IHSFCA) offers our second Virtual Clinic to be held Tuesday, December 14th through Saturday, December 18th! 


All of the zoom clinic presentations will be recorded, so if you are unable to watch them live you will be able to watch them later!

When you register early, you will have access to all presentations for only $75.00! After the early registration deadline it will be $100.00.

Click on this link to start your experience!  You will be amazed!  PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR ASSISTANT COACHES AND OTHER OUT OF STATE COLLEAGUES.

If you need to pay by school check for IHSFCA Virtual Clinic please mail to:

Kevin Crandall
1137 Barbary Ct.
Rochelle, Illinois 61068
attn. IHSFCA

Make check payable to:  IHSFCA


Dave Jacobs and George Turnbull/IHSFCA


Brien Dunphy         Athletic Director       Peoria High School

Tim Funkhouser   Baseball                           Edwardsville High School

  David Power         Girls Basketball          Fenwick High School 

John Naisbitt           Tennis                             Hinsdale Central HS

 Eight finalists from across the nation, in nineteen recognized sports categories will be honored during the National Coach of the Year Awards Banquet which will take place at the NHSACA’s national convention in Linocln, Nebraska on the evening of July 23, 2020. The highlight of the banquet will be the naming of the NHSACA national coach of the year in nineteen recognized sports categories.

All Illinois coaches were nominated for this national honor by the Illinois Coaches Association. The selection is based on longevity, service to high school athletics, honors, championship years, and winning percentage. The nominees and finalists are evaluated by experts in the field of coaching using a sport-specific rubrics to assign points in each category.

 NHSACA is the oldest coaches association in the nation formed by coaches, for coaches, and has been recognizing national coaches of the year since 1978. 

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2022 All Star Football Shrine Game Coaches

BLUE School Class
1.  Darren Sunkett-Head Coach HFC East St. Louis HS 5A
2. Rick Quinn HFC Abingdon(A.-Avon) HS 1A
3.  Dan McGuire HFC Yorkville HS 7A
4.  Derek Hart HFC Kankakee HS 6A
5. Justin Townsend HFC Fairfield HS 3A
6. Dragan Teonic HFC South Elgin HS 8A
RED School Class
1.  Chad Hetlet-Head Coach  HFC Glenbard West 8A
2.  Bryan Lee HFC Carbondale HS 5A
3.  Trevor Higgins HFC Pana HS 2A
4.  Anthony Dedmond HFC Freeport HS 5A
5.  Bob McMillan HFC Wheaton (St. Francis) 4A
6. Andy Romine HFC Tuscola 1A




Coaches Corner Article

ITCCCA  Hall-of-Fame NHSACA Hall-of-Fame

Building Better Athletes: Coaches Explore Simple Approaches to Complex Performance Problems

by Ken Jakalski
ITCCCA  Hall-of-Fame
NHSACA Hall-of-Fame

It is both refreshing and inspiring to find so many of my high school colleagues considering a simple athletic enhancement strategy that could very well have a profound impact on things like plyometrics, speed and strength training, and muscle activation: sleep.

Homewood-Flossmore jumps coach Rob Assise refers to sleep as “easily picked low-hanging performance fruit.”  I like that.

Why the interest in sleep? “Medical experts will tell you,” notes author Sal Di Stefano, ”that sleep deprivation triggers inflammation that causes cellular damage to your cardiovascular system, plus increases visceral fat and insulin resistance.”

Di Stefano also notes other factor that need to be considered. When you don’t sleep enough,” he says, “you’re hungrier, you’re more stressed, you have trouble building muscle and recovering, and you have less energy to devote to your life.”

The bottom line: There is literally nothing that you can do that will repair your body, bring hormones back into balance, and promote recovery like good-quality sleep.

“Resting is not just a state of physical inactivity,” notes evolutionary biologist Dan Lieberman.  “When we seem to do nothing, our bodies are still actively expending a lot of energy on many dynamic and costly processes.  Just as important, because we cannot spend a calorie more than once, resting is a crucial way our bodies engage in trade-offs.”

But skimping on sleep is something so many of us do because we believe that time asleep is time wasted. Virginia Woolf once described sleep as a “deplorable curtailment of the joy of life.” Margaret Thatcher had a simpler yet more contemptuous opinion: “Sleep is for wimps.”

Lieberman points out a consensus of opinion among experts—that sleep has declined in tandem with physical activity and that prior to the Industrial Revolution, people used to get more sleep, up to nine or ten hours a day.  However, as authors Russell Foster and Steven Lockley point out in their book, Sleep: a Very Short  Introduction:  “The “modern world’s brutish treatment of sleep has reduced this average to seven hours, with 5 percent of us sleeping less than five hours.”

Records for consecutive hours spent awake used to be tracked by Guinness, but they no longer do so because of its dangers in the form of “harrowing cognitive dysfunction, paranoia, and hallucinations.

Lieberman’s conclusion:  “Sleep is obviously vital for the brain, but it’s also associated with decreased physical activity.  Physical activity and sleep are not trade-offs but collaborators. Maybe it is not so paradoxical that the same well intentioned people who nag us to exercise sometimes also badger us to spend more time in bed.”


Coach Ben Greenfield notes the following in his book, Beyond Training-- Mastering Endurance, Health, and Life: “Right up there with breathing,” he says, “sleep is one of the most important stress-fighting weapons on the face of the planet.  As a matter of fact, not protecting and prioritizing sleep is one of the best ways to slowly destroy your nervous system and kill yourself.”

Coaches understand that their athletes need more than simply an easy day or a period of time spent lying down.  Unlike rest or conservation of energy, the mechanics of neural repair requires your brain to be shut off entirely from environmental input. During nighttime sleep, athletes will experience an increase in growth hormone and testosterone—two crucial muscle-repairing hormones that also have a significant impact on neural growth and the way an athlete will feel during the day.

As Greenfield points out in his “Sleep to Be an All-Star” infographic:

*Maximum bench press drops twenty pounds after four days of restricted sleep.

*With proper sleep, tennis players see a 42 percent increase in hitting accuracy.

*Sleep loss means an 11 percent reduction in time to exhaustion.

*Perceived exertion increases 17-19 percent after thirty hours of sleep deprivation.

Greenfield would definitely agree that focusing on sleep (8.5 to 9.25 hours for teens) is indeed that long hanging performance fruit coaches should be picking. “I shake my head and laugh,” he notes, “at people who brag about how little they sleep.  They’re shrinking their brains, shrinking their muscles, and making themselves sick.”

I think Usain Bolt, the fastest sprinter on the planet, said it best: “Sleep is extremely important to me—I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body.”

Plans for the Future

  • To Expand All Star Competition to include other sports 
  • Continue on-going professional relationship with existing coaches groups throughout the state and nation 
  • Improve opportunities for all athletes and coaches throughout Illinois 
  • Continue expansion of Awards Program to honor deserving coaches and athletes 

Serving All Coaches in All Sports

Twitter: @ICA_Illinois

Coaches Assistance Program (Click Above Image)

ICA_Illinois IL Coaches Assoc ICA_Illinois


Nicholas Johnson   Homewood-Flossmoor 

Landon Zurliene       Fairfield High School

Kyleigh Block            Villa Grove High School

Sydney Hartoin        Triad High School

Isabelle Neville         Canton High School

2021 Tim "Mo" Caldwell
Memorial Scholarship Winner

Ella Bolling   Homewood-Flossmoor HS

ICA Student Scholarships

For the twenty-third year that the ICA has  scholarships available to a son or daughter of a member.  Students compete for one of five ICA $750 scholarships every year. Also this year we start a new scholarship offering the Tim "Mo" Caldwell Memorial Scholarship for $500.

Students application process includes an essay, academic standing and recommendations by school personnel. The screening process is handled by the ICA Board of Directors.

Application Deadline is April 5, 2021 for ICA Scholarships

Application Deadline is January 25, 2021 for the Tim "Mo" Caldwell Memorial Scholarship

ICA Representatives Enjoy NHSACA Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska 2021

Illinois Coaches Association Sponsors

Interested in becoming a sponsor of Illinois Coaches Association? Contact Us!