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Dan Sanko steps down as Lisle High School football coach

Coach hopes to remain close to program after 17-year run leading the Lions

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 4:20 p.m. CDT
Lisle football head coach Dan Sanko (right) runs a drill at a preseason practice Aug. 22. On Monday, Sanko resigned as coach after 17 seasons at the helm. Mark Busch file photo - mbusch@shawmedia.com

LISLE – Dan Sanko stepped down as Lisle High School football coach Monday.

After leading the Lisle football program for 17 seasons, Sanko said that he “felt like it was time” to resign from his post. He would not go into details regarding his resignation, but added that he will continue to teach at the school and hopes to remain a part of the varsity football team.

“It’s kind of funny that circumstances like this have a way of connecting people,” Sanko said. “I received so many calls, text and nice comments on Facebook today. I can’t thank my fellow coaches, players and parents enough for their support.”

The school will begin interviewing head coaching candidates shortly and hopes to fill the vacancy in the coming weeks.

The high school’s athletic department announced the news on Monday morning, and Sanko said that he received the outpouring of support from fellow coaches, former players and parents and the entire Lisle community.

Lisle Athletic Director Dan Dillard expressed his gratitude for the head coach’s nearly two decades of service, calling Sanko well-respected, personable and a great representation of the school on and off the football field.

“He was a hard working coach and his teams always represented Lisle well with a competitive spirit and class,” Dillard said. “I appreciate his long service to Lisle as our head coach and how easy he made it to work with the football program.”

Sanko admitted that while every year coaching Lisle was a blessing, he is especially mindful of his early years with the team, when the underdog – and often undersized – Lions recorded several quality wins over larger schools.

In the last 10 years, Lisle was a combined 42-52 under Sanko. This season, the Lions finished 4-5 and 3-2 in the Interstate Eight Small, narrowly missing the playoffs.

Although he remembers the notable wins and losses, Sanko said that he took more joy from working with his coaching staff and helping mold his players into young men.

“You have a coaching philosophy and you hope that it helps the players mature, regardless of wins and losses,” Sanko said. “For me, it was never just about winning or losing. It’s about being a good mentor, leader, and being a positive influence on the players and the Lisle football program.”

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