After six years as head coach of the varsity football team, Bryan Stortz will be leaving to take the same position at Rock Island High School. Stortz also will become the school’s development director.
Stortz’s hiring officially was approved during a school board meeting at Rock Island on Tuesday. The 34-year-old coach will replace Vic Boblett, who also served in both capacities for the school. He will assume both positions this summer after the conclusion of this academic year.
Boblett coached the Rock Island Rocks for 21 years, finishing with a 170-60 overall record. His teams won 11 Western Big Six Conference championships.
“We’re losing a great coach. It’s a great loss,” said Lake Zurich High School athletic director Rolly Vazquez. “Coach Stortz has built this program at Lake Zurich to statewide recognition.”
A native of Peoria and a graduate of Augustana College in Rock Island, the move will be a homecoming of sorts for Stortz. He played cornerback for Augustana’s football team from 1996 to ’99. After missing his sophomore season with a knee injury, he was among the top five in tackles for the team during his final two seasons with the Vikings.
After graduating from Augustana, Stortz joined the Lake Zurich football varsity squad as an assistant in 2000. He took over as head coach from Mike DiMatteo in 2006, and led his team to the IHSA Class 7A championship in 2007, his second year at the helm.
Stortz got his team deep into the playoffs every year he coached them, finishing with a 19-5 playoff record over six years. The Bears returned to the state championship in 2006 but lost. They also were in it in 2010, losing to Wheaton Warrenville. . Boylan went on to defeat Wheaton Warrenville 21-14 to win the title.
Stortz also taught math during his first six years at Lake Zurich and is in his fourth year as dean of students.
When asked if Lake Zurich has someone in mind to replace Stortz, Vazquez said the school is still in the process of coming to terms with his imminent departure.
“We’re going through the posting process, and that’s something that we’re just starting,” said Vazquez. “We’ll be looking at internal candidates first before we start looking outside the school.”
One assistant coach that has prior head coaching experience is offensive
coordinator Brent Pearlman, who coached Prospect for 12 seasons before joining the Bears for the 2011 season. During Pearlman’s tenure at Prospect, the Knights won the state title in 2001 while going undefeated. They repeated in 2002 and won a third crown in 2005.
Pearlman reportedly is weighing his options for next season, including the possibility of returning to the high school head coaching ranks.
Vazquez said there have been mixed emotions from people he’s talked to outside of Lake Zurich.
“It’s funny. I’ve talked to a couple of ADs at other schools about what’s going on, and while they’re sorry to hear that we’re losing our coach, they’re also relieved that they won’t have to face a Lake Zurich team coached by Bryan Stortz again,” said Vazquez.
Vazquez is optimistic about the Bears’ immediate future. “We’re fine. We’ve got a solid program going forward. This will be a good team next season.”