Evanston Township High School has a long and proud tradition in football, from NFL Hall of Famer Paddy Driscoll to Heisman Trophy winner Clint Frank to coaches Murney Lazier and John Riehle.
But the Wildkits have fallen on hard times in recent years, producing only one winning team since 2000.
So athletic director Chris Livatino was understandably ecstatic when he called on Tuesday to announce that the school board had approved the hiring of Mike Burzawa as the new football coach.
"He'll bring a winning attitude to the program, something we haven't had in a while," Livatino said.
Burzawa doesn't know anything else but winning. As a player and coach, he helped to build Driscoll Catholic into the most powerful small-school football program in state history.
At the Addison school, Burzawa was the leading rusher on coach Gene Nudo's 1991 state championship team.
He served as an assistant to Tim Racki, who guided Driscoll to four state titles in a row.
When Racki left to become football coach and athletic director at Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park, Burzawa took over and the program didn't skip a beat. In the last three years, his teams have won 41 of 42 games and three state titles.
Whether Burzawa can achieve the kind of unprecedented success that Lazier did -- he was 125-17-4 in 18 years from 1957 to 1974 -- remains to be seen. Times have changed and Evanston athletes haven't demonstrated the willingness, desire and determination to win in football as they once did.
Mike Burzawa is anxious to change that.