Chicago Heights, IL-(ENEWSPF)- As Marian Catholic continues to rebuild its football program toward a consistent IHSA playoff contender, the Spartans will turn to one of their own to lead the charge, the school announced Thursday afternoon. Class of 1998 alum Erick Middleton will serve as Marian’s ninth football coach.
An all-conference performer at wide receiver for Marian in 1997 under legendary late Coach Dave Mattio, Middleton brings playing and coaching experience at the high school, collegiate and professional level. His entire family has been deeply involved with Marian Catholic, as parents H. Drew and Valerie are members of the Marian Catholic Hall of Fame, and brothers Roderick, Cedrick and Derrick were all multi-sport athletes for the Spartans.
“Erick’s deep level of experience and his familiarity with the program will make for a smooth transition and his charisma and leadership skills will allow a seamless route to continued rebuilding,” according to Athletic Director Kevin Kelly. “He’s been heavily involved with many aspects of the program, including defensive coordinator, game plans, player development and communication with prospective athletes.”
A former Arena league athlete with the Odessa Roughnecks, Peoria Rough Riders and Rock River Raptors, Middleton played collegiately at Eastern Michigan University, where he also earned bachelor and master degrees. The current Dean of Men at Marian Catholic, he’s also had coaching stints at Huron (Mich.) and Bloom Township High Schools.
Middleton is in his third tenure on the coaching staff at Marian Catholic, including 2003, 2006 and the current stint beginning in 2016.
“It is an honor as well as a privilege to be the Head Varsity Football Coach at Marian Catholic,” explained Middleton, also a former state qualifier in track for the Spartans. “Though I know I have my work cut out for me and this will truly be an uphill battle, I can honestly say that today I have accomplished one of my longtime dreams.”
Middleton succeeds Sean Mele, who resigned for personal reasons and will remain at Marian Catholic as Co-Director of Admissions.
“Sean has done an outstanding job of getting the Marian program pointed in the right direction,” Kelly praised. “He’s worked hand-in-hand with Erick on many aspects of program development, and his hand prints will continue as a strong influence as the football program progresses. Many thanks go to Sean for his guidance, imagination and impact on hundreds of athletes.”
Already involved in most aspects, Middleton will immediately take on responsibilities for weight training and conditioning, and summer camp plans, in preparation for an Aug. 24 season opener at Oak Lawn High School.