Mike Steinhaus knew what he was getting himself into when he returned to his alma mater six years ago.
Over the past three years, the 2003 Dundee-Crown graduate and former Ball State tight end has been part of helping turn the Chargers around under Vito Andriola after the program struggled for years to be competitive.
Now, Steinhaus will be in charge of overseeing the next step.
Steinhaus, 28, was named as Andriola's replacement on Tuesday, taking charge of a program that advanced to the playoffs for the first time in 19 years last season. He takes over for Andriola, who was recently hired to run Grant's varsity program.
"Obviously, we have not had the success you would like to see at your own high school," Steinhaus said Tuesday night. "We can't say enough about coach Andriola and how appreciative we are as a Dundee-Crown community – and really as a former player – for what he started building at Dundee-Crown.
"But we still have a whole lot to do...we're just starting the foundation and it's going to be a lot of work."
Steinhaus has spent the previous six years working with the program, including the past three as D-C's offensive coordinator. The Chargers finished 6-4 last season in what turned out to be Andriola's final season – three years into rebuilding a program Steinhaus understands well.
Steinhaus was a finalist for the head coaching job in 2011 when Andriola was hired. But when Andriola announced he was leaving after three seasons at the helm of the Chargers' program, Steinhaus was given the chance to take over a program that he now looks forward to running himself.
"We did very well offensively (under Steinhaus)," retiring D-C athletic director Dick Storm said Tuesday afternoon. "We just feel like he's ready to take over."
Steinhaus said his familiarity with the program will help, but that he will also have his own way of doing things. Storm said the first-time varsity coach's ability to relate well with his players could play a key role in keeping D-C's program moving in the right direction.
But familiarity with his new players and D-C's program, Steinhaus said, will only go so far.
"We have a lot of kids and I think they know there's a bigger picture," Steinhaus said. "They want to be part of that picture of building a program that will have continued success. But we're excited to keep building on the little success we had last year and try to make it consistent year in and year out."