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Sullivan High School Athletics Is A Family Affair

By Justin Breen | February 17, 2013 6:56pm

SKOKIE — Sullivan High School is the home of the Tigers, but it easily could be the home of the Zagorskis.

The Zagorski family plays an integral role in the Sullivan athletic department.

Greg Zagorski, 32, is the Rogers Park school's athletic director, head varsity baseball coach and head boys basketball coach for the freshman and sophomore teams.

His brother, Mike, 26, is the head varsity boys basketball coach and assistant football coach. He also was the assistant baseball coach until this year, as he'll perform the same role at Phillips High School in Douglas, where he teaches physical education.

Their father, Ron, 60, is the scorekeeper at Sullivan's boys basketball games.

In three of the last four years — when Sullivan has had enough golfers to field a team — Ron and Mike have alternated years as head coach.

"They do a great job at it, and they're passionate about it," said family matriarch Donna, a Logan Square native and retired grammar school teacher, who sits at the ticket desk for many Sullivan boys hoops games. "To be a good coach and teacher, you won't last long if you don't enjoy it."

The whole family agreed that Ron is the best coach. After helping Schurz High School claim the 1969 baseball state championship as a pitcher and graduating from Northeastern Illinois University, Ron said he's coached nearly 1,300 prep baseball games.

The Portage Park native was an assistant and head coach at Schurz from 1976-96 — and led the team to the state finals in 1991 — and has been an assistant skipper at Niles North High School since 1997.

Ron said his sons, who both played for him at Niles North, were destined to follow in his footsteps.

"Obviously they thought enough of it that it's a good, positive thing to do, to contribute to their communities, both at an academic and athletic level," said Ron, who retired as a Schurz math teacher three years ago. "It makes me proud that hopefully what I did was somewhat influential to what they've done."

Born six years apart, Greg and Mike have become extremely close through coaching.

"There's a lot of respect for what each of us know and what each of us can do as coaches," said Greg, a DePaul University graduate. "We trust each other's knowledge."

So far, Greg and Mike haven't been successful in terms of wins and losses.

In boys hoops, the Tigers are 2-14 and will face Grayslake Central on Feb. 25 in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.

"But wins are not the whole story, especially coaching in the city," Donna said. "They've been able to mold the minds of so many high school athletes."