Prairie Ridge names new head football, volleyball coaches

2009 Crystal Lake South grad Michael Frericks takes over football program

Prairie Ridge head coach Michael Frericks

District 155 approved the hirings of two coaches who will be replacing legends next fall at Prairie Ridge.

Hilary Agnello, a 1999 Prairie Ridge graduate, was hired to take over for Stefanie Otto, the only volleyball coach the Wolves have had in their 27-year existence.

Michael Frericks, a 2009 Crystal Lake South graduate, was named the new football coach, filling the spot Chris Schremp held for 22 seasons.

Otto had a 682-305 record in her 27 seasons. She is retiring as a science teacher at Prairie Ridge.

Schremp was 187-64 in his stint, with three Class 6A state championships. He resigned so he could apply for the athletic director position. Current AD Mark Gibert is retiring at the end of the school year and Schremp will be his replacement.

Frericks, who teaches math at Prairie Ridge, has been on Schremp’s staff for two seasons.

“We had lunch before he got hired at P.R., the January before he got hired,” Schremp said. “I remember coming home and telling my wife (Sheri), ‘Mike is going to be a really strong candidate to be a head coach someday.’

“He was. You could just tell right away. Mike has that personality. You can tell he’s got enthusiasm, and he’s very student-centered, where he’s ready to do the right things for the kids. Mike’s going to do a fantastic job.”

McHenry's Coach Hilary Agnello talks game strategy against Hampshire on Tuesday, Sept. 6,2022 in McHenry.

Since Schremp will be working with the new coaches, Gilbert deferred to Schremp for the selection process.

Schremp is excited that the coaching staff – aside from himself – will all be back. Offensive coordinator Joe Terhaar and defensive coordinator Andy Petersen have been with Schremp more than 15 years.

“That means a lot coming from him,” Frericks said. “We were able to sit down and chat and maybe he saw that I’m a leader, a guy who is confident and has been around football and understands the game of football and understand it around here and the proud traditions.

“The programs I have been a part of have shaped me into who I am today. Maybe all that came out in our conversation.

Frericks played at NCAA Division II Sioux Falls, S.D. After graduation, he coached at the university and then taught and coached at Sioux Falls Washington, which won three consecutive state championships in South Dakota’s largest school class.

Frericks and his wife Natalie have a 3-year-old son Kash and were looking to get back to the Crystal Lake area when he began looking for teaching positions.

Now, Frericks takes over one of the state’s top football programs. He is only the third head football coach in school history.

“I truly feel honored to be taking over for Chris Schremp,” he said. “What he’s done for this program and this area is unbelievable. I just feel really lucky. A lot of the people he put in place are still around, and the tradition and expectations.

“I got to see it for two years, it was like an internship. I was able to watch how things were done. I really feel like I can take a lot of that stuff and take it on to a new tradition and a continue to live up to that excellence. That’s kind of the goal.”

Agnello was the 1998 Northwest Herald Volleyball Player of the Year and went on to play at Penn State. She coached for five seasons (2018-22) at McHenry and works as a dean at Crystal Lake South.

Her daugher, Maizy Agnello, was a freshman standout for the Wolves last season. Hilary Agnello is excited about following her high school coach at her alma mater.

“The cool thing is she was the first head coach at P.R. I was one of her first players and her last year at P.R. was with my daughter,” Agnello said. “Anyone who stays such a long time, the program is associated with that coach. The beauty is that it’s also associated with our family a little bit because we’ve both gone through the program. It’s a connection. It’s community.

“That whole (Prairie Ridge) athletic program is legendary, but the volleyball program itself is bigger than all of this.”

Along with Maizy, Agnello has two sons, Carson (seventh grade) and Leo (fifth).

Schremp remembers when Prairie Ridge opened and he was freshman football coach, and he walked into volleyball matches after practice.

“I just remember her presence on the court, her enthusiasm,” he said. “I remember seeing her play and like, ‘Wow, that’s a Division I player.’ I always remembered her. Stefanie said she’s probably one of the best if not the best volleyball player Prairie Ridge has ever had. That’s saying something with all the great players we’ve had. It’s really cool to have her back for sure.

“I remember her spiking the ball and going, ‘Whoa!’ And then hearing, ‘She’s going to Penn State.’ I can see why. With Hilary, the enthusiasm she brings, the girls are in for a treat with how she is with volleyball and what volleyball can do to help our young ladies become better people. She’s great at teaching her sport and teaching kids to be a better person.”