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St. Patrick names Luke Mertens new football coach

Luke Mertens is heading home to St. Patrick to be its new football coach, the school announced Wednesday.

Mertens, who graduated in 1994, will be the first alumnus to lead the football program. He’ll be the program’s 11th coach in the school’s 161-year history and has 19 years of coaching experience.

“Moving forward it is imperative that the head of our football program be dedicated to the growth of our program, focused on player development, and promote a winning mindset in all that we do,” school president Dan Santucci said in a press release. “At the end of the day, our primary role is to help our boys become successful young men.”

Mertens was an assistant coach at St. Patrick and St. Rita before moving on to be the head coach at Lakes and Lake Zurich. As a head coach, his teams won six conference championships, earned 11 playoff appearances and was the state runner-up in 2017.

“Since stepping away, I am constantly asked if I ever plan to coach again,” Mertens said in a press release. “My response is always the same — only if I find the perfect fit. I have found the perfect fit in Saint Patrick High School and its new leadership team. I am humbled and honored to be entrusted with carrying on the proud tradition of my alma mater and instilling Shamrock Pride in the young men of the Northwest Side of Chicago.”

Mertens will take over from Adam Guerra, who was the program’s head coach for the past five seasons and who will continue his role at the school as a Dean of Students. St. Patrick had one of its best seasons in program history this fall, qualifying for the Class 5A quarterfinals.