Head football coach resigns

Bill McNamara has decided to step down from the varsity level next year, making Joshua Hjorth the new head coach

Lawrence Kreymer and

After Stevenson lost in the first round of the playoffs this year, a shock wave went around the school as news broke that head coach Bill McNamara had resigned.

After taking over seven years ago, McNamara helped establish a winning program, winning over 80 percent of his games. Before that McNamara was an assistant and an offensive assistant for 18 years. Stevenson won its first IHSA 8A State Championship in school history in 2014. That year, the Patriots went undefeated with a 14-0 record.

“There have been so many great moments, it’s hard to place one over the other,” McNamara said. “Patriot teams won so many big games, including winning the state championship, but it’s about the day-to-day relationships that will be remembered most.”

Starting next year, defensive coordinator Joshua Hjorth will take over as head coach. Hjorth and McNamara have worked together for 11 years.

“It’s a bittersweet feeling; it was fun working on a day-to-day basis for so long,” Hjorth said. “He brought great energy that rubbed off on everybody. He is a high character guy. We have great memories together including beating Maine South and winning the North Suburban Conference six out of seven years.”

The impact that McNamara had on players was also profound. According to the team, he helped all of his players not only on the football field, but helped them succeed in school and beyond.

“McNamara is a huge reason as to why I am being recruited by my dream school’s,” quarterback Aidan O’Connell ’17 said. “He is constantly contacting coaches and trying to get my name and my teammates names out to coaches to find a spot for us for the next four years.”

With a new coach sometimes comes changes to the playbook. According to Hjorth, there won’t be any wholesale changes from the past couple of years to next year.

“I’m looking forward to molding everything together,” Hjorth said. “We have a very tough schedule next year including games against Palatine and other tough opponents. We will look for the best offensive, defensive and special team fits for our players.”

That said, McNamara won’t be completely leaving the program. He is slotted to take over as coach of the freshman team.

“I won’t be fully stepping down,” McNamara said. “I’ll take over as a freshman coach and I want to have the same impact on these incoming players as I did on the varsity level. It was a very tough decision for me and my family, but every year we step back to look at what’s best.  It was ultimately a good time for the transition to new leadership in the football program.”