Prep football

Marian Catholic football coach Dave Mattio announces his retirement

2012-10-21T00:15:00Z 2014-05-15T22:45:25Z Marian Catholic football coach Dave Mattio announces his retirementBy Mike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
October 21, 2012 12:15 am  • 

Marian Catholic's football team will have a new coach on the sidelines next year for the first time since 1976.

Dave Mattio told The Times Saturday he is stepping down as coach at his prep alma mater but will remain as the athletic director.

The school is expected to make an official announcement either later today or Monday.

The Spartans were 1-8 and lost to Nazareth Academy on Friday in his final game, but Mattio said that did not influence his decision to step down.

"I just think it is time for me to step aside and let someone else guide the program," Mattio said. "Someone who has the energy it takes to get the program back to where it needs to be.

"I have truly enjoyed every minute as the head coach at Marian (Catholic) High School and whoever takes over, I will do what I can to help him rebuild the program."

Mattio said he and his wife of 42 years, Jody, can do some things they haven't been able to do because of his time commitment. The couple has five children and 14 grandchildren.

"Jody, the kids, they all sacrificed when I was younger because they know this is what I loved and they made it part of their lives," Mattio said. "This was my obsession and Jody supported it and I missed a few things with my kids. Marian was our family and the school has been very good to me.

"I am going to be 65 (years old) when next school year comes, so it is time to step back."

The Spartans suffered just their fourth one-win season in school history.

Mattio was 251-141 and according to the school's website, he entered 2012 as the state's 17th-winningest coach. His best season was 1993 when he led the Spartans to a 14-0 record and beat Geneseo 13-6 to win the Class 4A title.

The 1999 Spartans were second in Class 5A, losing 31-7 to Mount Carmel. Overall, Mattio's teams have made 20 IHSA playoff appearances, the last in 2010.

Marian also won the Chicagoland Prep Bowl championship game in 2000, beating Simeon 23-14. The Spartans compiled a .500 or better season in 31 of 37 of Mattio's seasons.

Mattio was inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1997.

He’s also a member of the Marian Catholic Alumni Association Hall of Fame, East Suburban Catholic Conference Hall of Fame and was named Frank Leahy Prep Coach of the Year in 1994.

Along with sending hundreds to continue their football careers in college, Mattio’s teams have produced four athletes who eventually played in the National Football League.

They include current Philadelphia Eagle Dennis Kelly, current Loyola Academy football coach John Holecek (Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons), Mike Prior (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers) and NFL analyst Rodney Harrison (Chargers, New England Patriots).

The 1966 Marian grad and Chicago Heights native graduated from Northern Illinois University. He returned to Marian as an assistant coach in 1971 and became varsity head coach in 1976, succeeding Bob Voss.

Mattio also served as the Spartans' baseball coach from 1972-76.

"This program is founded for the students and it will continue to be for the students," Mattio said. "Everyone from the parents, fans, students, cheerleaders, the players and the assistant coaches.

"Marian students are cut from a different cloth and I think it shows in the successes they have had as adults. I am very fortunate to have been a part of this."

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

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