OPRF hires new football coach

School taps powerhouse Mt. Carmel


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By Brad Spencer

Sports Editor

Oak Park and River Forest High School announced last week that John R. Hoerster has been hired as the new head football coach.

Hoerster, an assistant coach for the last eight seasons at powerhouse Mount Carmel under Frank Lenti and the son of legendary Loyola Academy football coach John Hoerster, replaces Jim Nudera, who resigned in the fall after 12 seasons.

Hoerster, who as a youth played football at York, a school in the same conference as OPRF, takes over a program that finished 2-7 overall and 0-6 in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference this season.

With Hoerster as an assistant coach, Mount Carmel went 11-3 this season and lost to Maine South 28-7 in the Class 8A State Championship. Hoerster was with the team in 2006 when the Caravan also finished second in the state. He helped coach Mount Carmel to a total of four state championship appearances.

"We are thrilled to have John Hoerster leading the Huskie Football Program," OPRF Athletic Director John Stelzer said. "When we started this search, we wanted to find a coach who was familiar with our communities and our school. We wanted a candidate who was high energy and had experience with a successful football program. And we also wanted a coach who was respected by his student-athletes and colleagues and had a passion for coaching at OPRF."

Hoerster, an Oak Park resident, will continue to teach at Mount Carmel. He is currently completing work toward a Masters in teacher education at Dominican University and the state certification required to teach in Illinois public schools. Hoerster began his coaching career in 1997 as an assistant sophomore football coach and assistant varsity girls and boys track and field coach at Loyola Academy, while working as a Chicago firefighter.

"I am truly excited and humbled to be a part of such a great school and community," he said of OPRF. "I literally can't wait to get started."

Stelzer said Hoerster will begin the transition process immediately, holding a team meeting this week, attending some weight training and workout sessions, and scheduling meetings with the current coaching staff and parents later this spring.

"I became a teacher and coach because I was inspired by those who I grew up admiring, the men and women of the coaching and teaching profession who pushed me to realize my own potential," Hoerster said. "[OPRF's] tradition of academic and athletic excellence, its diverse student body, the strength of its enrollment and the already established ties to the community make it an ideal setting for both student and faculty alike."

Email: bspencer@oakpark.com Twitter: OakParkSports

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Ted Carroll from Chicago  

Posted: August 9th, 2011 5:20 PM

OPRF has made a tremendous decision hiring John Hoerster. I am a former MCHS student athlete who had the privilege of being coached and taught by Mr. Hoerster. Not only was he one of the best coaches that I have ever seen, but he was one of the best teachers I have ever had. OPRF is lucky to have a man of such outstanding character and quality leading their team on the football field. He will not only make them better players, but better young men. Best of luck to you coach.

Vontrell Williams from Chicago  

Posted: May 31st, 2011 8:42 PM

As a current MCHS football player I would definately say that OPRF has no idea of the type of man that they are getting to complete this task. Not only do I think he will meet expectations, I KNOW he will exceed all excpectations. He made playing football alot easier with the excitement he brought to every single practice and game. Man coach I wish we still had you.

Ryan from Chicago  

Posted: April 28th, 2011 1:55 PM

First off, you guys are going to love John Hoerster! I am suprised at some of the negative commentary. This guy knows his football! I played for him at MC and I coached with him - he is the real deal! As for not having a job at OPRF, it will only be a matter of time until he is working there. I am not a betting man, but you guys are going to see huge strides in the years to come. Mt. Carmel will miss you. I was hoping John would take over when Lenti leaves MC. Good luck!!

aka Robee from River Forest  

Posted: March 1st, 2011 11:32 PM

Last I knew it's been alot of great coaching changes in college football and in the NFL , This one a need. Coach Hoerster all I need you to do is dominate in the West Suburban Silver and Gold conference , luck up on a state title or two and beat the daylights out of York High School. Everytime you step on the field just remember that it's about class , having fun , and playing ball. Show Me Some Heart and Don't Stop Until The Whistle Blows! Great day Huskies. Good Luck, Coach Hoerster

class of 04 varsity huskie from Chicago  

Posted: February 9th, 2011 3:22 PM

As a former African-American 4-yeat player, I find it interesting that the only pople making this a race issue are old bitter people with their own agendas. I'm sure if you ask the players (the only opinions who really matter), they could care less. Maybe that's cause the only thing they care about is winning, playing and getting better and coach Horester's ability to help them reach those three goals is what he should be judged on. Good Luck, you have the support of a lot of former players!

Al from Oak Park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 8:34 AM

Welcome to Oak Park Football Coach! Lets be REAL people, all of us get our start and foundation from others, regardless of profession. It is up to us than to stand on our own. Coach has a great training ground - and now he gets a chance to prove what he has learned. Thanks to Nathaniel Rouse and Mr. Stelzer for agreeing to hire Coach.

Nessie poo poo from mokena  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 12:27 AM

Are you serious? He gets job off Lenti and his Dad's name. Teach at Mt. Carmel but coach @ OPRF? Someone needs their head examined. dont mean to sound angry... but thats RIDICULOUS! the AD should be fired

Jerry Hudson from Phoenix  

Posted: February 1st, 2011 1:15 AM

Best of luck to coach Hoerster. Restoring the Huskies to prominence won't be easy, but I'm optimistic he'll get the job done. Both communities will support you in your efforts. Things certainly have changed since I was graduated and have gotten much more complicated. Even so, on this occasion perhaps those who've been expressing political opinions might consider saving them for a more appropriate venue.

R Ebert  

Posted: January 31st, 2011 4:14 PM

More like a reverse version of Remember the Titans

JB from OP  

Posted: January 31st, 2011 2:18 PM

Anybody else have an urge to pop "Hoosiers" into the DVD player after reading some of these comments?

Tom from RF  

Posted: January 31st, 2011 2:12 PM

Welcome to OPRF Coach & Congratulations. OPRF has a Storied tradition to Football & Oak Park is ready for you to bring the program back to its Greatness! From researching your background, after reading you got the nod - have to say VERY impressive. Especially like all the favorable ratings given to you by the young men - and their families regarding leadership, academics, commitment, role model and giving to others. You will not only fit in at OPRF - you will help it to NEW heights.

Parent from Oak Park  

Posted: January 31st, 2011 9:21 AM

Welcome aboard coach. You seem like you have the right background to be an excellent coach at OPRF. Also since you live in the community you already know about the race baiting. Young men look for leader ship (Although they don't really realize it) because they are trying to find their way in the world and they want to emulate good behavior. As coach you know these kids could care less about your color. They want somebody that knows X's and O's and can teach them right from wrong. Good luck!

there she goes again  

Posted: January 31st, 2011 9:13 AM

The funniest part about Violet Aura's blatant racism, other than the fact that she/he is too cowardly to admit that he/she's a racist, is that her "African-American does not equal Black" racist screeds are soooo 1990s. Seriously, update your racist rhetoric, please.


Posted: January 31st, 2011 8:22 AM

So glad that these forums are provided to show the continued ignorance of the people who come to post on the Journal's articles. Instead of congratulating Coach Hoerster and welcoming him to OPRF- where he was hired based on merit, experience, and skill- he is subjected to this crap.

OPRF Achievement Gap  

Posted: January 31st, 2011 7:11 AM

Role Models @ OPRF. What is a role model - some one that you CAN look up to, that can help you get to where you want to go. There is no race in that, only dream to be the best you can be. If kids want that, teachers, coaches and administrators will help them. If they don't? Looking at the process, OPRF went for excellence AND thank you for that. Anyone can and will draw their own conclusion, but we were not part of the process, so take a deep breath. CONGRATULATION Coach & Welcome to OPRF!


Posted: January 30th, 2011 8:33 PM

@Violet: "Black" may still be incorrect in many cases is my point. You're making a big deal about absolutely nothing. I'm with OP Resident: take it to RnR. Congrats to the new coach, btw! It sucks that the good people of OP gave him such a crappy welcome.

OP Resident from get real  

Posted: January 30th, 2011 7:47 PM

Point proved VA. Try craigslist rants and raves.

cindy from oak park  

Posted: January 30th, 2011 7:47 PM

My caucasion son has had many coaches over the past several yrs - of different ethnicities - almost all of them have been positive role models for him! Let's just get past this, congratulate Coach Hoerster and welcome him to OPRF!

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 30th, 2011 7:10 PM

@OP Resident: "Over the hill baby boomer." Not over the hill and a member of Gen X. I find it telling that your whole description of who you think I am revolves around "romantic activity," as if a woman's worth is in her looks and ability to get a man. But then again, I recall that you were defending cheating on one's spouse, so thank God I have a wonderful longterm partner who values me as a person rather than someone lacking integrity who views women as pieces of meat!

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 30th, 2011 7:08 PM

@OMG: I am talking about using 'AA' to denote race when you are describing someone you don't know. If I see someone in the distance and point him out and call him 'AA,' how the hell do I know that he's not visiting from Trinidad, thereby being African-Trinidadian, not 'AA.' Once again, we are talking around issues instead of dealing with truth. And throwing around the word 'racism' like there's no tomorrow. But people are on to this copout. It has been misused and has no power anymore...

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 30th, 2011 7:04 PM

@Fighting Racists: Keep flapping them gums..."Vile racist" is just a bunch of hot air. It doesn't address my points, which are racial (I DID bring up race) but not racist. I did not demean any person of color; I simply pointed out the truth, which is that it is very common to see a news story worded in this fashion: "The suspects were described as being in their 20s; one was 5'9", white, wearing grey pants while the other is an African-American, 5'10..." etc. White is fine to say but not Black.

OP resident  

Posted: January 30th, 2011 2:47 PM

VA is not a racist. She is an over the hill baby boomer with no real romantic activity her whole life. Just like the church lady smearing the music conductor. They are people with nothing to do but try to remember when some 16 year old boy ogled their direction. They never made his list. They are still bitter forty years later.


Posted: January 30th, 2011 1:42 PM

Violet Aura's racism must be stopped. I think this hire proves that racism is institutionalized at OPRF. And I dont trust Paul Wright, he is on their payroll.

Oak Park  

Posted: January 30th, 2011 1:36 PM

OMG Paul Wright is an AD plant.

This is not a race debate  

Posted: January 30th, 2011 1:33 PM

The leader of Oak Park River Forest High School is Principal Rouse. He is, get this, an African American. Race was by no any means a factor in this hire, or any hire at OPRF. The last basketball coach, coach Al Allen who was also african american, was well respected by the whole entire OPRF community. STOP turning this into a Race debate. Your ignorance is disgracing the entire Oak Park and River Forest communities.

Current OPRF Player  

Posted: January 30th, 2011 11:19 AM

Hey listen, it doesnt matter the color of somebody's skin. Its about how he does on and off the field, preparing young men for life after football and high school. If he (God forbid) does a poor coaching job, we will find another coach. Is it Mr. Steltzers' fault the most qualified man for the job was white? No.

Fighting Racists  

Posted: January 30th, 2011 8:16 AM

Once again I would like to request that WJ take some steps to prevent the vile racist Violet Aura from posting her filth on their forums.


Posted: January 30th, 2011 6:55 AM

Huskie Athletic Council has taken on numerous diverse community activities. In closing, I have sat on a head coaching hiring committee and they have always included numerous community stakeholders: teachers, parents/community members/boosterclub, students, and other coaches. Mr. Stelzer's is of the highest character and quality. I wish the new head football coach much success and sorry about this being a first experience to our great school.

Paul Wright-OPRF SOCCER Part One  

Posted: January 30th, 2011 6:51 AM

Nothing like making a new guy feel welcome to our school. As a member of the OPRFHS Varsity Coaches Council Mr. Stelzer has done a commendable job in recruiting and seeking out minority coaches for our programs. The oprfhs athletic dept. has hired nearly 30 minority coaches over the past 5 years (15 black males, 8 black females, 4 hispanic males, 1 hispanic female). In addition, Mr. Stelzer has created and fostered the development of Huskie Athletic Council an organization open to all students.


Posted: January 29th, 2011 11:15 PM

@Violet: Why be absurd? One would do what people have been doing in this nation for 40 years "Oh, he's Jamaican". Considering many people of other ethnic groups do not consider themselves "black", regardless of appearance, this argument is null. Black would be no more correct than would be African American. It would be just another incorrect assumption. Like I said before, look at our president.

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 9:54 PM

@OMG: Just because a term is used interchangeably doesn't mean it's being used correctly. The actress Charlize Theron, a White woman from South Africa, now lives in America, hence she is an African-American although also White. I cannot stand that term. It really is nonsensical, given that we use it to identify someone physically. If I see someone in a crowd and want to point him out and use 'AA' as one descriptor, what if he's here from Jamaica on vacation? Is he a African-Jamaican?


Posted: January 29th, 2011 9:20 PM

@Violet: Stop confusing white people. Generally, the two are used interchangeable. Once Pres Obama is socially termed a mulatto, then you can jump on people about PC categories. I hope you go after Blacks who are proud of their "Black" president with the same zeal. @Leroy & Co.: Knock it off. This is one of the main reasons relations between blacks and whites become awkward. Everyone can sit in the front of the bus now, so file your FORMAL complaints if they're legitimate.

OPRF Football Player from na   

Posted: January 29th, 2011 9:15 PM

As a current OPRFHS Varsity Football player I would like to say that me and many more playing on the team that are returning next year are thrilled to have a new coach white or black willing to step up and help us accomplish our main goal in winning a state championship. The fact remains that even though Coach Hoerster is not the same color as every player on the team does not mean that players won't treat him with respect on and off the field.

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 9:03 PM

@Former Huskie: Oh I know. I am mainly responding to the idea that a White coach cannot be an inspiration to Black players. Nonsense and insulting, actually. The younger generation is much less color-conscious from what I can see. I will bet that "Leroy" is closer to my age than to an OPRF teenage boy.

former hiskie  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 8:57 PM

Violet. I was trying to make a point without offending, insulting, or disrespecting anyone. I appriciate your clarification with my choice of words. I hope at least my point was clear that as a former hs and college athlete I had the chance to play for many great coaches, both black and white and never did race play a factor in their ability to be "people of influence" for so many.

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 8:41 PM

@Former Huskie: Did you mean to write 'Black?' 'African-American' should not be used to denote race. We have the word 'Black' for that. Even those who persist in using 'AA' will use 'White' in the same sentence, thereby giving the impression that 'Black' is a dirty word. All people emigrating from Africa are not Black, so 'AA' is not interchangeable with 'Black.' An example of an AA is a Nigerian who moves to the USA.

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 8:39 PM

@Leroy: Why does a football coach have to be a race-appropriate role model? I guess you believe that it's all about color: a young Black male cannot be mentored by a White coach? Tell me you are really not that bigoted...Oh, and I notice that you do not mention the REAL role models of all boys and young men: their fathers.

former huskie  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 8:35 PM

by the way, my role model growing up was Al Allen whom I played for. I am white, Coach Allan is Black and viewing him as a person of influence in my life had nothing to do with his skin color. Coach Hoerster moved to Oak Park before he considered this position, he must cherish the diversity this community has to offer his young children. Give the guy a chance....people don't follow skin color...they follow leaders. Good luck Coach. Show the kids how much you care and they will respond to you

former huskie  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 8:28 PM

Hiring young African American males is not a problem that is unique to just Oak Park River Forest High School. According to many educational database, African American males make up less than 3 percent of certified teachers nationwide. You would have to have woring knowledge of who applied to make any type of credible statement that AA males were passed up for this job. I really am concerned that people can throw around the race card without having been involved with the process.

Black Coach  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 4:22 PM

Sorry to burst your bubble Embarrassed... I know a black coach who did apply. Where did you get your facts from?

Embarrassed Oak Parker  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 3:24 PM

Leroy more whites play football at OPRF than blacks..Ben..The school picked from the applications they received..they did not recuit.. No blacks applied..Role models start in the home not at the school. Felix what's wrong with a shaved head..LMAO Poor.. we are politically correct in OP and colored is not an acceptable word..LMAO again.. get your facts straight before commenting..Coach & Mrs Coach you know Oak Park is great place to live.. Good luck Hakuna Matata..coach 7-2 now that's Pressure

Agree or Not from Oak Park  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 2:59 PM

Did Poor from Op really use the word colored

Oak Parker  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 2:49 PM

This race stuff you people are talking about is a joke....I mean really because they hire a white coach it makes OPRF a racist school! You have to be kidding me! I played football at oak park and was in the classs of 99'. Our team was about half white and half black. I am still friends with most of them. We often talked about the hiring of a new coach. Not once did race come into the coversation! You people need to grow the "F" up and stop throwing the race card out!You're a family in football

Call it the way I see it  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 2:43 PM

At what point will our society evolve from playing the race card whenever we don't agree? Shame on you who people who did. OPRF is a school that is 70% white yet it has a black princpal. As I recall there were no riots in the streets waving the race card. The only concern was would he do a good job. Same should go for a football coach. Not only is Coach Hoerster a product of one of the best football programs and high schools in the state. his father was a coaching legend at Loyola. Nuff said.

poor from op  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 1:00 PM

this guy does not even have his teaching qualification completed? that is ridiculous, i expect only the best from the physical education teachers in our community. im sure this search committee could have found a colored candidate who met the requirements. the last coach was white, how did that work out?

Tom Scanlan from Chicago  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 12:58 PM

Coach Hoerster why must you leave?! You will be GREATLY missed. OPRF does not know how great of not only a coach but a man of character they are getting.

Felix from North Oak Park  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 12:43 PM

Again? How can OPRF hire 3 WHITE coaches in a row? That, my friends, is racialist. High school is about more than winning or merit, its about diversity. This is also the 2nd coaching hire (along with Matt Maloney) of a white male with a shaved head. This is not a white prison gang Mr. Stelzer, it is high school.

Rich from River Forest  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 10:57 AM

As a parent of present and former OPRF Students, an alum and a supporter of the Huskie Booster Club and Huskie athletics I want to applaud the search committee for their outstanding choice for the next football coach at OPRF. The committee did an intensive search and chose the best person for the job independent of race or staus as a facility member at OPRFHS. Our students deserve the same excellence in coaching as they have been recieving in teaching. I hope this process continues

Ben Harros-Achievement GAP  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 6:43 AM

I do think there needs to be an investigation to some of the recent atheltic hires.A school and community goal is to close the achievment gap and having strong AA role models is important and proven statistic to help young black men.The NFL has the Rooney Rule what has OPRF done?I had a friend who served on the committee.The new coach will get a job next year at OPRF as a teacher, he has yet to complete his degree to be able to teach.I wish him luck, but the actions of the AD worry me greatly.

former OPer  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 2:38 AM

Really must we throw the race card in on everything?Seriously give it a rest. I would like to know how this is considered "unfair" but there are plenty of "black" only schools and tons of other things as well. HOW IS THAT NOT RACIST? Turn that around and it would be rainbow push and marches all over. its getting old!


Posted: January 29th, 2011 12:41 AM

Conor, you say he taught black students? I think Leroy already made the point that white people are not qualified to do that nor be role models. The ignorence on this bored is amazing.

Conor McNamara from Chicago  

Posted: January 28th, 2011 10:42 PM

Congratulations OPRF. Hoerster was my favorite teacher at Mount Carmel and truly a terrific man. I can promise everyone that he will be loved at OPRF. As for the racist stuff, he taught at a school with many black students and the team had many black students. Also, he will only remain at MC for one more year, that is when his contract ends. But in all honesty, he was my favorite teacher ever and truly a class act man. MC will miss him for sure. Good luck and go OPRF!

Cody Hawkins  

Posted: January 28th, 2011 9:41 PM

Wow...judging coaching hires based on race, how progressive. Stop the racist OPRF administration!

Really Leroy? from West side  

Posted: January 28th, 2011 9:41 PM

Leroy i too was thinking the same that we do not have the same percentage of black coaches similar to our student population. I too have questioned some of the coaching hires from mr. stelzer. The HR director is Lauren Smith who is african american. How is she recruiting black leaders, teachers, and coaches? The fault not only lies with mr. stelzer but also with her.I heard the former evanston coach was interested but stlezer wanted nothing and that there were NO black canidates in the pool?

Leroy Johnston--Last 3 hires all Caucasion from Oak Park  

Posted: January 28th, 2011 9:11 PM

I am little worried here. It seems that Mr. Stelzer's last 3 major hires have all been white males. The basketball coach, Matt Maloney, Girls Track Coach Tim Tarrant, and now a football coach that is white. Where are the Black role models for these predominately black sports at OPRF? He knows football but won't be at our schoo? What kind of role model is that? Do we have any black coaches at our school to mentor these young adults? I am worried.

Paul Landerman from Oak Park  

Posted: January 28th, 2011 6:59 PM

Sounds like a good hire. There is no reason a school like Oak Park should not be more competitive than it's been.

John Noldan from Naperville  

Posted: January 28th, 2011 4:11 PM

John Hoerster will not only be an outstanding coach but an incredible role model to all in contact with him. He is a true leader with tremendous knowledge of the game and will for sure lead OPRF back to greatness.

Booster from Oak Park  

Posted: January 28th, 2011 3:23 PM

Sounds great! But how can he teach at Mt. Carmel and coach at Oak Park? Seems that will limit his time for our players

Tom Scharre  

Posted: January 28th, 2011 2:55 PM

Best of luck, Coach.

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