Bolingbrook stays within program, fills vacancy with Pettigrew

Former San Diego Charger, Penn State product fourth coach in Raider history

Bolingbrook's new head coach Titcus Pettigrew.

Although new Bolingbrook head coach Titcus Pettigrew had spent only one season in the Raiders’ program as its defensive coordinator, and had to this point never been a head coach, calling him inexperienced couldn’t be much farther from the truth.

While it is accurate that Pettigrew has only one year in the Bolingbrook program as its defensive coordinator, Pettigrew played collegiately at Penn State (1997-2000), had a brief stint with the San Diego Chargers and also played in the Arena Football League with the Arizona Rattlers for a stretch. Post playing career, Pettigrew was a defensive coordinator at St. Francis, Benet and Fenwick before landing at Bolingbrook.

Pettigrew is replacing John Ivlow as coach of the Raider program. Ivlow, who missed a portion of the 2022 season with health concerns, stepped down at the end of the season. Ivlow compiled a 158-65 record in 21 seasons at the helm of Bolingbrook and guided the program to a Class 8A State Championship in 2011. Pettigrew briefly considered leaving when Ivlow made his decision to depart, but the bonds he quickly formed in the program proved too alluring for him to ultimately make that choice.

“I feel like the relationship I’d build with the kids and the community and the relationship with the coaching staff made it something that I didn’t want to walk away from,” Pettigrew said. “I’d expected that John was going to return, and I’d continue to learn and be mentored by him, but when he stepped away it was just the kids that I’d bonded with and created a great relationship with. I knew I could be a great asset to them, on the field, in the classroom and in the community. So I decided to take a stab at the head coaching job.”

Pettigrew’s appointment is only the fourth that has had to be made in Bolingbrook history. The program began in 1974 under Ron Wrather (1974-1977) and then was shepherded by Phil Acton (1978-2001) before he handed things over to Ivlow in 2002.

The new head man is hopeful he can continue that long run of program stability established by his predecessors.

“I’m 15 minutes away, I have no aspirations of looking at this position as a quick fix or a filler or to coach at a higher level,” Pettigrew said. “The future kids of this program and the movement that is coming, I’ve told them that I feel like I’m going to want to be around for a long time to uphold my part as a coach. I look to keep the program consistent. Both in getting our wins and finding our kids homes, as far as colleges, because that’s something they’ve consistently done here at Bolingbrook.”

As far as individual philosophies go, Pettigrew plans to put his own stamp on things but still hopes to retain many things that the program has established as working well.

“The three things I’m really going to focus on is responsibility, accountability and really continuing a culture that Coach Ivlow set forth with the kids with involvement in the community and with each other,” Pettigrew said. “There’s a lot of challenges ahead, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Pettigrew also hopes he has the ability to bolster the program’s overall numbers. Bolingbrook has been quite successful in recent years but has done some with some roster limitations that most Class 8A powerhouses don’t usually have to deal with.

“The turnout has to continue to increase because when you walk around the school like I have you wouldn’t believe the size of some of these kids that are not playing football,” Pettigrew said. “It’s amazing. My mentality is we have to win our backyard first. We just had our first meeting. And we had about 15 or 20 kids who are difference makers in other programs or are now just walking the halls that are now going to come out. That part is going to be key as well as getting back into the community with the youth programs, letting them know that we care and have a home for you.”

Pettigrew, who was a dual-sport athlete at Penn State in basketball and football, also is active in Bolingbrook’s basketball program. He plans to continue his role with that program as well, currently serving as a freshman basketball coach.