Loyola Academy Assistant Athletic Director and Head Football Coach John Holecek announced on Monday that he will depart Loyola Academy in June and focus on the next chapter of his career. The decision comes less than two weeks after the Ramblers won the 2022 IHSA 8A state championship.
During his 17 years at Loyola, Holecek has distinguished himself as one of the top high school football coaches in the United States, leading the Ramblers to seven IHSA 8A state final appearances (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2022) and securing three state championship titles (2015, 2018, 2022). Under his direction and leadership, Holecek’s teams have made it to the playoffs every year since arriving at LA in 2006. Overall, his career at Loyola included 185 wins and 36 losses and a staggering .837 win percentage.
“There’s no question that John has elevated our football program, helping it to become a nationally recognized program,” says Loyola Academy Vice President for Athletics and Fitness Genevieve Atwood. “The Holecek era will stand out among the storied history of Loyola’s football program for its grit, its winning tradition, and its commitment to excellence. Even in his departure, John’s legacy at LA will continue to inspire us to reach new heights. But, for all of us that have had the privilege of knowing Coach Holecek, success on the field is only one part of his story. Coach Holecek has been a fiercely competitive coach, but also a uniquely humble leader who always models respect, gratitude, and appreciation for the opportunity to compete. His commitment to our Jesuit mission and his tireless dedication to form young men into leaders—on and off the field—has been just as significant as his success on the field. Coach Holecek's leadership has impacted thousands of young men over the years. As senior captain Brooks Bahr has said, ‘He is a once in a lifetime coach.’”
An alumnus of Marian Catholic High School (Chicago Heights) and the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, Holecek spent eight seasons in the NFL as linebacker for the Buffalo Bills, the San Diego Chargers, and the Atlanta Falcons.
“It is with deep appreciation that I thank Coach John Holecek for nearly twenty years of service as head coach at Loyola Academy and wish him the best of luck as he embarks on this next chapter,” adds Atwood.
Holecek, who lives in Glenview with his wife, Patricia, and their three sons, Jake ’20, Nick ’22, and Luke ’23, has not yet shared specifics of his future plans.
To prepare for the next season, Loyola is forming a search committee for its next head football coach. More information on the application process will be available in January. “We are committed to hiring the best coach to continue to lead this exceptional program. We have significant work to do but I am confident that we’ll get there,” Atwood concludes.
Founded in 1909, Loyola Academy is the largest Jesuit high school in the United States. The school annually enrolls approximately 2,000 students, who come from all over the Chicago metropolitan area representing more than 90 different zip codes. The mission of Loyola Academy is to form women and men for meaningful lives of leadership and service in imitation of Jesus Christ through a college preparatory education in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition. Loyola has a global network of nearly 28,000 alumni.