High school football: John Holecek on his next move and the decision to leave Loyola

John Holecek stepped down on Monday after 17 years as Loyola’s football coach.

He led Loyola to the Class 8A state championship this season, his third at the school. The Ramblers played in seven state finals during Holecek’s run and made the playoffs in every season since he arrived in 2006.

Holecek says he’s done coaching at the high school level but isn’t sure what his future holds.

“I would think that ship has sailed,” Holecek said about high school coaching. “I’m going to enjoy myself for a few weeks and then I’m open. I don’t have a resume out there. I’m not the kind of guy that thinks about the next job. I’ll more the all-in with what I’m doing mode person.”

Holecek knew throughout the season this would be his last year and told Loyola administrators last month.

“I had a one, two and three-year old when I started this job,” Holecek said. “I saw the babies grow up and graduate from Loyola. I’m grateful for this place.”

Holecek told his coaching staff he was leaving a few weeks ago but most of the team found out on Monday.

“I’m not abandoning anyone,” Holecek said. “They are in great shape here. I don’t know if I would have done it a couple of years ago.”

Holecek won’t be involved in finding his replacement.

“I would think the internal candidates have an advantage,” Holecek said. “But a lot of my assistants might not be the head coach type and won’t go for it. But there are a lot of good coaches on the staff and it is an excellent opportunity.”

Holecek coached several future college players, but will be most remembered for his ability to succeed with players that weren’t going to play at big-time colleges in the future.

“When I look back I’ll have the collective memories and faces of great kids,” Holecek said. “Good people and good families. That’s what the legacy is for me.”

Holecek leaves Loyola with a 185-36 record. Holecek played eight seasons in the NFL, most with Buffalo, after starring at Marian Catholic and Illinois.

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