The loss of all-state guard Morris Dunnigan to graduation, along with seven of the top eight scorers, was already going to be a challenge as Joliet West headed into the 2013-2014 season. Now the Tigers will be doing so with a brand new coach.
After 13 seasons as a head high school basketball coach, including the past six at Joliet Twp. and Joliet West, coach Luke Yaklich is moving on and up to the college basketball coaching ranks. The Hoops Report has confirmed through multiple sources that Yaklich will be joining head coach Dan Muller's staff at Illinois State, with the official announcement still to come.
Yaklich led the Tigers to 19 wins and a regional championship this past season. While at Joliet, Yaklich compiled a 105-61 record. His best season came in 2009-2010 when he led his team to a super-sectional appearance and a 25-7 record.
Prior to his arrival at Joliet, Yaklich spent four seasons as head coach at LaSalle-Peru, where he compiled a 58-54 record but improving the win total each year he was there. Yaklich also coached at Sterling from 2001-2003. In his three seasons at Sterling, the win total went from eight wins in 2001 to 13 in 2002 and 15 in 2003.
Yaklich, like his new basketball boss, Muller, is an Illinois State graduate. The two went to school together at ISU and have been friends ever since. That relationship and familiarity between coaches likely played a big part in Yaklich's move from a job that was difficult for him to leave.