Girls track and field

Chesterton coach Kearney retiring after track season

2014-04-15T18:30:00Z 2014-04-16T02:23:05Z Chesterton coach Kearney retiring after track seasonJim Peters james.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com

When Steve Kearney envisioned what his last season of coaching would be like, this certainly wasn't one of the scenarios.

The retiring Chesterton girls track coach, who has spent his entire teaching and coaching career at his prep alma mater, has been relegated to the press box with a broken arm sustained in a running mishap.

"It's not the way I wanted to go out," Kearney said. "I miss the interaction with the kids."

Kearney was running a few weeks ago when he tripped on a tree root. He instinctively extended his arm to brace his fall and the heel of his palm caught a bigger root. His right arm absorbed the impact, snapping the bone at the neck of the humerus.

"It wasn't humorous," Chesterton athletic trainer Nancy Furcsik said, making a medical play on words.

Because of the location of the injury, Kearney must avoid all risk of contact. He is unable to teach, though he hopes to return as an aide soon. He will not undergo surgery due to the potential risk of nerve damage and loss of mobility that won't be as great through the natural healing process.

"I can't write; I can't bend over," Kearney said. "It hurts to stand. It hurts to sit. I bumped a doorway and it about killed me. I'm pretty worthless at school."

On the track, assistants Brian Carden, Bryan Nallwenweg, Jim Socha, Sam Marshall and Katie Cahillane are picking up the slack.

"I've always been a figurehead," Kearney joked. "I try to surround myself with good people. That's my secret. Now it's out."

A 1966 Chesterton graduate, Kearney originally intended to stay on for a few more years, but state changes in teacher retirement annuities would negatively impact him if he did.

"Steve has left an indelible mark on an awful lot of people," Chesterton Athletic Director Garry Nallenweg said. "He's one of the good guys. You won't find a better person, a better coach. He's in it for the right reasons. I've been fortunate to know two of the greatest ambassadors for track and cross country in the state of Indiana in Larry James and Steve Kearney. Steve's been a phenomenal spokesperson for those two sports. He will be missed."

Nallenweg has known Kearney since the early 70s, when he had him as a teacher at Chesterton.

"We go back a long time," Nallenweg said. "Steve lived in the same neighborhood as my parents. His younger brother was a year ahead of me. I've known him on a lot of different levels – coach, colleague, friend. He's one of those people who has given to the community all his life. Chesterton is his community. He's a permanent fixture here. His commitment to the youth of the community, how many people he's touched, in some cases, the children of children, is unbelievable."

In addition to Chesterton track and cross country, "Kearn Dog" remains active in the Calumet Region Striders Club.

"Steve's one of those guys who's a whiz with numbers, figures," Nallenweg said. "It's so natural to him. I'm in awe of people like that. He's a guy who knows every back road in the state of Indiana because he's run 'em all."

Restricted to quarters for now, Kearney is sending practice schedules from home and will watch meets from upstairs.

"It's very unfortunate, but it's not like Steve won't be around," Nallenweg said. "The kids are in good hands. We have very capable assistants and he'll still be behind the scenes, calling the shots. He just has to be very  conscious of his surroundings. We want him to heal and get back for the postseason."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best girls soccer team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News