Mike Noll enjoyed a highly successful first season as Richmond-Burton’s football coach, which came as no surprise.
Noll took over a strong program that had been to the playoffs 11 consecutive seasons. And he wins games wherever he coaches.
After leading the Rockets to the Class 4A playoffs semifinals, Noll received more good news last week when he learned he would be inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame on March 30 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign.
Noll is 235-73 over 29 seasons as a head coach, a winning percentage of .763. He coached 16 seasons at McHenry, 12 at Glenbrook South and last year at R-B. His teams have been to the playoffs 27 times, although R-B’s semifinal was Noll’s first trip that far in the playoffs.
Karl Jennrich, who coached two years on former Johnsburg coach Mike Maloney’s staff, also will go in as an assistant coach. Jennrich coached for 20 seasons as offensive coordinator at Libertyville under former coach Randy Kuceyeski.
Noll took over at McHenry in 1988, and the Warriors won or shared 14 of the next 16 Fox Valley Conference titles. They made the playoffs 20 consecutive years, four after Noll left to coach at Glenbrook South.
R-B finished 11-2 this season and lost to eventual Class 4A state champion IC Catholic, 28-9, in the semifinals.
“What he did in McHenry was unbelievable, when you think about it,” said Jace Sayler, a 1997 McHenry graduate who played at Michigan State and with the New England Patriots. “It’s like what Prairie Ridge and Cary-Grove have done now. When he was doing it back then, he made everyone feel like winners. Playing for him, you knew you had a chance to be a winner. It was a contagious thing that caught on.”
At one point, McHenry won 40 consecutive FVC games. Woodstock interrupted the Warriors’ FVC string in 1997, but it took an undefeated Class 5A state champion team to do it.
Sayler said Noll’s best attribute was his willingness to work.
“All the time he spends with the kids makes him a great coach,” Sayler said. “He’s absolutely not going to get outworked by anyone. The kids see the effort he puts in, the kids see what he’s doing for them, and it makes you want to put in your best effort for him. He has the ability to make kids believe in themselves.”