Jeremy, Jody and Dave Mattio. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)
Chicago Heights, IL-(ENEWSPF)- It’s a career that has spanned more than 250 victories, three different conferences (as well as independent), multiple changes in IHSA football classes and parts of five different decades.
However, after 37 campaigns, Marian Catholic’s Dave Mattio has decided it’s time for someone else to walk the Spartan sidelines as the school’s head football coach.
The 19th winningest coach in IHSA history with a 251-141 mark (.640), Mattio has spent the majority of his life on the Chicago Heights campus. A 1966 graduate of Marian Catholic, the Northern Illinois University product returned to Marian on the football staff in 1971 and assumed the reins of the program in 1976.
“It goes without saying that spending 42 years doing something you really enjoy and appreciate is not the norm for today’s society,” Mattio said. “It has always been my belief that those who represent Marian Catholic have always been ‘woven from a special cloth.’ My thanks go out to those great student-athletes whohave so positively represented this high school in the great sport of football. Your impact on Marian Catholic High School will never be underestimated, and your influence on my life will always be treasured.
None of the past 42 years would have been possible without the fine support group of family and friends. Special thanks to my parents whose sacrifices taught me many of life’s lessons. Most importantly, a very heartfelt ‘thank you’ is extended to my beautiful wife and my best friend. Thanks, Jody, for allowing me to be a‘kid chasing dreams’ for the last 42 years.”
Mattio’s teams have made 20 IHSA playoff appearances, capped off by the 1993 Class 4A state championship and another appearance in the 5A title game in 1999. His squad also captured the 2000 Chicagoland Prep Bowl and made one other Prep Bowl title-game appearance. The Spartans have compiled seasons of .500 or better in 31 of the 37 campaigns, including 22 in a row.
Under Mattio’s leadership, Marian has won seven conference championships in the Illini-8, East Suburban Catholic and Catholic Metropolitan Blue. His squads have made four overall IHSA state semifinal appearances, played in six Chicagoland Prep Bowls, produced six seasons of 10 wins or more, and he’s turned out numerous All-State players and media Players of the Year.
An accomplished clinician, Mattio has gained broad recognition from his peers, including induction into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1997. He’s also a member of the Marian Catholic Alumni Association Hall of Fame, East Suburban Catholic Conference Hall of Fame and was named Frank Leahy Prep Coach of the Year in 1994.
“Marian Catholic will always be indebted to Coach Mattio for his leadership and devotion to the football program,” Principal Sr. Kathleen Anne Tait praised. “His sincere concern for each player and undying support for Marian Catholic have been hallmarks of his career. He has left a legacy on which another can build for continued growth of the program.”
A hallmark of Mattio’s career includes preparing athletes for the next level. Along with sending hundreds to continue their football careers in college, Mattio’s teams have produced four athletes who eventually played in the National Football League. Current Philadelphia Eagle Dennis Kelly ’08 was preceded by John Holecek ’90 (Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons) and Super Bowl Champions Mike Prior ’81 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers) and Rodney Harrison ’91 (Chargers, New England Patriots).
While, Mattio will enjoy spending more time with wife Jody, their five children and 14 grandchildren, he will remain at Marian as Athletic Director, a position he has held since 1974.