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Illinois High School 

Senior All Star Game

Executive Director Column

Drew Potthoff Executive Director


Hello Everyone and Welcome to the ICA Website! 

On behalf of myself and the entire ICA Board, I hope Everyone had a great Holiday Season and this edition of the TORCH finds you healthy and enjoying another successful winter sports season.

I recently saw a video on Twitter that really hit home with me about the true meaning of why we chose coaching as our profession. Kelsey Plum, Head Girls Basketball Coach at ICC Junior College in East Peoria, Illinois. Coach Plum stated, “Yes you are a coach, but really your job is to uplift and encourage…we just have an epidemic of a lack of confidence.” Powerful words. Why do you coach? It can’t just be for the competition, even though those are an important part of the development of our athletes. To continually to encourage and uplift our athletes must be our top priorities. With all the negative influences that bombard our youth today, coaches must be one of the positive lights in their lives.

Coach Plum’s video is a “Must Watch” for all coaches!

We have added even more outstanding articles and information in this edition. The Illinois Coaches Association is very proud to be the organization that serves all our high school sports and their coaches. Some important dates to remember:

March 30-April 1               IHSFCA Football Clinic University of Illinois Champaign

April 5                               Deadline for ICA Student Scholarships and Tim Caldwell Memorial Scholarship

June 28                                   ICA/IHSBCA Senior All Star Game Illinois Wesleyan University Bloomington

June 17                                 ICA/Shrine Football All Star Game Illinois Wesleyan University Bloomington


We wish everyone good luck as we enter the IHSA tournament season. It is a very busy and stressful time for coaches, but we cannot lose sight that it is also even busier and, in some instances, more stressful for our athletes. Keep them in mind and keep in mind your mental health and that you need to plan time with your family too!

I hope you enjoy this issue of the TORCH and as always, the ICA is here to serv all coaches in all sports!



Coaches Corner Article

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

Lisle and ICA legend always Prayed For Sunshine.

Carlin Nalley February 16, 1937—May 20, 2022

by Ken Jakalski

Carlin Nalley…I don’t know if he clicked his heels and prayed for Lisle when he left Kansas and came to the small school district 25 miles west of Chicago 55 years ago, but I’m pretty sure the Lisle community was looking forward to someone who could assume multiple roles in a school district in need of someone who could transform the Lions athletic program.

Carlin became Lisle’s athletic director, head football, and head track coach. More importantly, he became an essential part of the Lisle community that quickly embraced him for his creativity, innovations, and work ethic.  

He installed the wishbone offense in football, and the first high school all-weather polyurethane track in Illinois. Once that facility was completed, he worked hard to host a track event that quickly gained a reputation as the largest outdoor track event of its kind in the Illinois outside of the state championships. At one point, Lisle had as many as 56 high school teams competing.

But in 1986 the Lisle community called upon Carlin to take on a new position in the district: assistant superintendent. That meant he had to find replacements for the football and track programs he had built into state powers.

Out of the blue, he called me, asking if I’d be interest in teaching English and coaching track in Lisle. That was an unexpected opportunity for me, one that would transform my career. During our interview, I ask him what he expected of me as track coach. He said just two things: be creative and respect traditions.

Lisle became the first high school in Illinois with a fully automatic timing system for track. In terms of tradition, I never changed the track uniforms Carlin designed. The only minor dispute came when the Lisle Sports Boosters wanted the Lisle track invite renamed the Carlin Nalley Invitational. Carlin was uncomfortable with the name change, but he eventually came around, and smiled when he saw that the new logo included at the bottom the one line he shared with coaches in every correspondence regarding the meet:  “Pray for Sunshine.”

Carlin’s next position in Lisle reflected creativity, innovation, and community respect: Superintendent. Despite all the responsibilities of such a major role, Carlin continued to serve as head finish judge at our invite, and head finish judge at the Illinois State Track Championships.

Though wheelchair bound, 85 year old Carlin made an appearance at the Nalley Invite this past May. Just two weeks after the meet, we lost the man who meant so much to the Lisle community and fans of track and field.  It’s as if he wanted this opportunity to say goodbye.

Of all the great memories I have of Carlin, this one is my favorite. Even at his advanced age, he renewed his cross country and track officials certification, and was looking forward to starting meets.  The picture below is Carlin working his last big event, our Mane Event Cross Country Invitational.

Carlin loved Lisle, and we all loved him. As a result of all that he meant to me and our community, not a day goes by without my saying….Pray for Sunshine.


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   

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.

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Good afternoon, Coach Potthoff,

Hope all is well, and a new year is off to a great beginning. The Jason Foundation is proud to collaborate with the Illinois Coaches Association. We are extremely appreciative of you sharing our programs to further educate coaches. I am sending a brief video from Clark Flatt, the president of JFI, expressing grateful appreciation to the ICA for the great work you do in prevention of youth suicide. My request would be to share with coaches and place the video on your website. Thank you for your conscientious effort to educate coaches about the “Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide. JFI would be honored to serve you any way possible to help save lives.


Here is the link to the video.


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 2023-2024

2022-2023 NHSACA Coach of the Year Nominees

2022-2023 ICA/NHSACA Coach of the YEAR Nominees

Darren Howard      Athletic Director               Oswego High School
Rob Porter               Assistant Boys Coach       Naperville Central High School
Mark Longo              Soccer                                    Quincy Notre Dame High School
Dale Eggert              Wrestling                              Libertyville High School
Mark Haberkorn     Volleyball                             LaSalle Peru High School
Todd Hopkins          Baseball                                Marquette High School
Derek Leonard        Football                                 Rochester High School
Chris Trainia             Softball                                  Lemont High School
Jimmy Centella        Cross Country                     Grayslake Central High School
Joe Lodico                Girls Assistant Coach         Rockford Lutheran High School
Denise Murphy       Tennis                                         Lake Forest High School


Congratulations to the 2023 NHSACA
Coach of the Year Finalists

Darren Howard      Athletic Director               Oswego High School
Rob Porter                Assistant Boys Coach       Naperville Central 
Mark Longo              Soccer                                       Quincy Notre Dame 
Dale Eggert              Wrestling                                 Libertyville High School
Denise Murphy       Tennis                                         Lake Forest HS




John Wrenn

Kevin Hayhurst

2023 IHSFCA Football Coaches Clinic

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2023 All Star Football Shrine Game Coaches

Blue O/D School Class
1.  Jeff Reents-Head Coach D HFC Wilmington  2A
2  Patrick Elder D HFC Ridgewood- Cambridge 8man
3  Doug Nutter D HFC Pekin  7A
4. Byron Gettis O HFC O'Fallon  8A
5. Mark Dodd O HFC Bismarck (Henning-Rossville-Alvin) COOP 1A
6. Andrew Quain O HFC Prairie Central 3A
RED   School Class
1. Mike Lalor-Head Coach D HFC Stillman Valley 3A
2 Jason Kirby D HFC West Central 8man
3 Terry Jones D HFC Perspectives Charter -Chicago 6A
4. Tyler Hoffman O HFC Pecatonica-Du-Pec 3A
5. Jason Clay O HFC Vandalia 2A
6. Gary Griffin O HFC Rockford East 6A

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 

MAXPreps Score Widget

Coaches Assistance Program (Click Above Image)



  • Samantha Hartoin
  • Justin Pedersen
  • Alivia Crisco

2023 Tim "Mo" Caldwell
Memorial Scholarship Winner

Samantha Hartoin

ICA Student Scholarships

For the 27th 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, 2024 for ICA Scholarships

Application Deadline is April 5, 2024 for the Tim "Mo" Caldwell Memorial Scholarship


Serving All Coaches in All Sports

Twitter: @ICA_Illinois

Send ICA Scholarship Applications New Address

Drew Potthoff, CMAA
Executive Director ICA
2730 Via Tivoli 335 B
Clearwater, FL 33764

Illinois Coaches Association Sponsors

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