Joe Piekarz won almost 300 games, finished with a winning record 13 times and had four 20-win seasons in a row, but Indian Creek athletic director Ehren Mertz said the boys basketball coach will leave a legacy that goes beyond the hardwood.
“He’s meant a lot to this community, not just as a coach,” Mertz said of Piekarz, who announced Friday he’s leaving the school after 15 years to take over at Marmion. “Not just as a coach, but he’s been a dean there, he taught classes, he did [National Honor Society], so many different things. He coached baseball and golf. You name it, anything you asked, he did. And he was a phenomenal basketball coach to top it off.”
Piekarz went 292-147 in his 15 years, winning a regional tournament four times and one sectional. In 2020, the Timberwolves won their first 35 games before losing in the Class 1A DeKalb Supersectional.
With most of the players back from that squad, the Timberwolves went 17-4 this year in a season shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Piekarz said the support he and the team got during their run in 2020 will be a lasting memory of the school for him.
“One thing Indian Creek has over so many other schools is support,” Piekarz said. “That is something I will 100% miss, is the all-out support that the community gives. And that was showcased at an even bigger during our run in 2020 when you just saw all the people who are invested in Indian Creek basketball. It was unbelievable. And that’s going to be my lasting memory, the support I received and the support my family received. They welcomed us in for the last 15 years.”
Piekarz, a graduate of Streamwood, lives in Bartlett. The move to Marmion cuts his commute from 50 miles to 16.
He also said that going to Marmion gives him the chance to coach his sons, Ben, 12, and Blake, 9.
“The community and the team and the school have been nothing but great to me,” Piekarz said. “I have so many great memories there, and it’s a great place to be. But when the Marmion position opened up it was an opportunity for me to go to a place where there might be a few more opportunities, with my kids getting older, having the opportunity to coach them as well.”
Mertz said that the job has posted and he hopes to start interviews on June 14 to have a candidate before the board meeting on June 21.
Since Piekarz arrived at Indian Creek in 2006, Marmion has had five head coaches – including current NIU coach Rashon Burno.
Antonio Young coached the team the past four years, going 26-73 before taking the Fenwick job.
The Cadets last had a winning season in 2014-15, according to the IHSA website, and last won a regional in 1977.
Piekarz said everything just lined up for him to take over the Cadets after the successful run at Indian Creek, which began when he was 24.
“Obviously, we have had a tremendous group the last couple years,” Piekarz said. “We’ve had a really nice run, to be honest, the last 10 years. This ultimately just came down to timing. Marmion is just a great school. When I had that opportunity to go there, it was something I just couldn’t pass up, even though I have so much love and respect for Indian Creek.”