George Shimko

At its meeting June 22, the Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 Board of Education approved the hiring of George Shimko as the new school’s new varsity girls basketball head coach. He replaces Carlton Rosemond, who stepped down in April after two seasons at the Huskies’ helm.

Shimko comes from St. Laurence High School, where he established the girls basketball program after the school turned coed in 2017. In six seasons, he guided the Vikings to a 94-80 record and an IHSA Class 3A regional title in 2018.

Prior to St. Laurence, Shimko coached for four years and was athletic director at the now-closed Queen of Peace High School. In the 2016-17 season, the school’s last, the Pride won a school-record 28 games, which led to Shimko being named Daily Southtown’s Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.

Shimko, who has 27 years of coaching experience, is also the founder and owner of the George Shimko Basketball School. Created in 1994, more than 1,500 players at all levels have attended the school. He has also served as a general manager with both the Chicago Bulls/White Sox Training Academy and the Illinois Basketball Academy.

A 1974 alumnus of St. Rita High School, Shimko played collegiately at St. Xavier University in Chicago. Afterwards, he embarked on a lengthy overseas career, and now in his 60s, still plays to this day. 

Last year at the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah, Shimko was a member of Total Package, which won the silver medal in the 5-on-5 basketball competition in the 65-70 age group. He had 18 points and 10 assists in the championship game, a 75-73 loss to a Lancaster, Pennsylvania, team. He also tallied 23 points and 12 assists in the semifinal.

Girls soccer coach resigns

Christie Johnson

At the same school board meeting, it was announced that OPRF varsity girls soccer coach Christie Johnston has stepped down from her position.

In a text message to Wednesday Journal, Johnston said that her decision to resign was for personal reasons. She added that she would remain at the school as a teacher and head coach of the freshman girls volleyball team.

In six seasons leading the Huskies, Johnston compiled a 32-51-2 record, winning an IHSA Class 3A regional title in 2021, the program’s first in a decade.

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