Preps Talk

Thornton coach Bill Mosel stepping down after 29 years


Thornton coach Bill Mosel stepping down after 29 years

Thornton Township head football coach Bill Mosel, who is also the school's athletic director, announced last week (with little fanfare) that he would be stepping down from his coaching position after 29 years leading the Wildcats.

I first ran into Bill Mosel in the stands while scouting a Lincoln-Way Knights game (only one school way back when; it’s now Lincoln-Way Central). I had no idea that I would end up covering him and befriending him over the past 20-plus years. Mosel was — and remains — a humble high school football coach who loves the game, who would go to games all over the state including his annual trip to the IHSA state football finals. Needles to say, we have a few things in common, most importantly high school football.

Mosel, an Eisenhower High School graduate, coached Thornton Township for 29 seasons. He posted a 195-105 overall record, leading the Wildcats to the 1990 Class 6A state football title. Mosel also sent hundreds of student athletes to play college football. Included in those numbers are about a dozen of former Wildcats who played in the NFL. Antwaan Randle El, Napoleon Harris and Tai Streets are just a few of the thousands of players who Mosel coached and guided during his career at the Harvey-based school. Ironically, the new head coach for the Wildcats will be Dontrell Jackson — a former Wildcat quarterback. The Wildcats program figures to remain in very good hands.

While the wins and the names are impressive to say the least, my favorite memories from the Bill Mosel Era have very little to do with being on the field.

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I'll always remember the first time he gave me a tour of the Lou Boudreau Room inside of the Wildcats field house. The Boudreau Room, named after one of Thornton Township's most famous alumus — the Hall of Fame baseball player and major league manager — is a well-kept history of everything Thornton sports dating back to early 1900s. Mosel took immediate pride in showing off the history, a pride that was always reflected in his team and his program year in and year out.

Another favorite time of mine was National Signing Day. It was always a special day for Mosel, his coaches and players’ families. Mosel would make sure to include every single player who was expected to play in college as a part of the day, no matter which level the kids would play in college. When it came to college football and recruiting, nobody worked harder for his kids and went above and beyond more than Mosel. He would get coaches from across the country each and every year into his school. Every college coach who made the visit to Thornton left with an abundance of information.

But the one lasting impression that will always stay with me? Watching him, a macho, tough-guy football coach, grabbing the hand of one captain on each side and then walking his team hand in hand onto the field. It was a sight that you just never, ever expected. It's also a sight that I know I'll miss starting in 2015.

Knowing Mosel as long as I have, I also have a feeling he's not done coaching football. Mosel has it in his veins. While this large chapter of his career is coming to an end, the overall story I feel is still not finished just yet.

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we'll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Jacobs

Head coach: Bill Mitz

Assistant coaches: Bubba Smith, Mike Warren, Brian Zimmerman, JM Foote, Ryan Arndt and Bob Mackey

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (5-3 Fox Valley Conference). Jacobs made the Class 7A playoff field. The Golden Eagles lost to Lincoln-Way West in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 Hampshire 

Aug. 31 @ Huntley 

Sept. 7 Dundee-Crown 

Sept. 14 @ McHenry 

Sept. 21 Neuqua Valley 

Sept. 28 Prairie Ridge 

Oct. 5 @ Cary-Grove 

Oct. 12 Crystal Lake South 

Oct. 19 @ Crystal Lake Central

Biggest storyline: Can the Golden Eagles move up in the Fox Valley Conference pecking order in 2018?

Names to watch this season: OT Joacheim Price and OL Nick Zonta

Biggest holes to fill: The Golden Eagles will need to replace its entire starting linebacker group from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Year in and year out, Jacobs is always a factor in the rugged Fox Valley Conference (seven playoff appearances in the last eight years). The Golden Eagles return some starters in several key spots. If the underclassmen group can step up this summer, look for Jacobs to challenge for the FVC conference title and a higher seed in 7A come IHSA playoff time. 

97 Days to Kickoff: Back of the Yards

97 Days to Kickoff: Back of the Yards preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Back of the Yards

Head coach: Sheamus Murphy

Assistant Coaches: Will Johnson, Marty McNamara, Tim McNamara and Nick Teich

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (6-0 CPL Great Lakes Conference). Back of the Yards made the Class 5A state playoff field. They lost to Solorio in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Week 1: @ Kelly

Week 2: vs. Goode

Week 3: @ Brooks

Week 4: vs. Schurz

Week 5: vs. Kenwood

Week 6: vs. North Lawndale

Week 7: @ Steinmetz

Week 8: vs. Payton Prep

Week 9: @ Clark

Biggest storyline: The Bobcats were a true feel-good story last season. Can the Bobcats build on its momentum and success going into the 2018 campaign?

Names to watch this season: OL/Dl Kevin Pacheco, WR/DB Carl McNickles, OL Armando Resendiz

Biggest holes to fill: The Bobcats bring back several returning starters from last season; however, can they find a new signal caller to replace the graduation loss of 2017 standout QB Jeremiah Harris (McKendree College)? 

EDGY's Early Take: One of the top stories from the 2017 season was the rise of this young program. The Bobcats made the IHSA state playoff field in just their third season of varsity football. As for 2018? The expectations have risen for this South Side school. A move to the CPL Illini Prairie State conference ramps up the overall competition level. If the Bobcats can find a steady signal caller, they have solid chance at competing for a potential IHSA state playoff spot come October.