The news that Waukegan has hired former Elmwood Park basketball coach Mike Wasielewskias its new boys basketball coach is significant on multiple levels. It is a signature and much coveted job for the the former Naperville North guard who played under the legendary Mark Lindo in the DuPage Valley Conference.
The hiring also carries dramatic consequences for the Public League soccer landscape. Wasilewski left his job as a history teacher and coach of Lane's powerhouse girls city program in accepting the teaching and coaching job at Waukegan.
Under Wasilewski, the Lane girls qualified for five consecutive city finals.
He was seconds away from winning four consecutive city titles. In the spring of 2012, Lane led Young 1-0 in the 80th minute when Young scored seconds before regulation ended. The Dolphins eventually won the match in overtime.
Otherwise, Wasielewski directed the Indians to city titles in three of the last four years and four overall. His final team beat Class 2A supersectional qualifier Payton 8-0, in the most lopsided final in the 19 year history of the girls' city title. They outscored the city tournament opposition by a combined 37-0.
Wasilewski said he is not "sure if I'll coach girls' soccer at Waukegan yet, basketball will certainly keep me busy."
Jasmin Carrera, a two-time first all area player and the second most prolific scorer in Public League history, is part of the first group of scholarship at UIC, which is starting a varsity program for the 2014 season. Her departure leaves a considerable void.
George Washington-recruit Sofia Pavon, Natalie Wade and Anastasia Niforos form the nucleus of an exceptional junior class that is likely to maintain the Indians' dominance for the next two years.
Wasielewski's hiring underlines a potentially crippling blow to the Public League, another example of the talent drain the city is suffering in the aftermath of the draconian budget cuts and teacher layoffs. Some of the city's most successful, and best known, coaches in a range of sports, have lost their jobs in the reorganization.
Young boys soccer coach Ian McCarthy said he was forced to cut back his own staff. He also had to move all of his home games to a makeshift field in front of the Young campus. "I can't justify paying Park District fees in this financial environment," he said. George Stavrakas, the softball equivalent of Wasielewski who won multiple city titles for the Indians, is also no longer coaching softball there.
It seems self-evident the long-term repercussions, especially in the niche sports, are going to be considerable.
Team of the week: Hinsdale Central began the year with great expectations. The No. 2 Red Devils have exceeded the early season hype by recording two highly impressive victories to start the 2013 season. Sam Johnson scored three goals, star forward Christian Meyer also tallied and TJ Schmidt added a goal in the Red Devils' 5-1 season-opening win over No. 20 Metea Valley.
On Saturday, Hinsdale Central shut down Tremper of Kenosha, 1-0, on a goal by sophomore Bryan Loebig, in the first three minutes of the match. It was his first varsity goal. Keepers Wes Bergevin and Ethan Gama alternated in the net for the Red Devils. "It was a strong defensive effort and combined with an equally effective attacking scheme that [kept] pressure on in the attacking half," Hinsdale Central coach Michael Wiggins said.
Hinsdale Central hosts its own invitational this week. The final is Saturday at 7 p.m.