The last time Loyola Academy went looking for a new football coach was in 2006 when they selected John Holecek to be the next coach and he helped guide the Ramblers to a 185-36 record over the next 17 seasons.
Holecek stepped down at the end of the 2022 season when they went 13-1 and won the Class 8A state championship. It was the third state championship under Holecek (2015, 2018, 2022) and the fourth in program history, joining the 1993 title winners.
Instead of going far away to find its next head coach, Loyola Academy Vice President for Athletics and Fitness Genevieve Atwood decided to name Robert M. “Beau” Desherow, a 1993 Loyola alum, as its new head coach.
Not only is Desherow a member of Loyola Academy’s Athletic Hall of Fame for his stellar football career, he has also been a coach on the Ramblers football staff since 2004.
Desherow, of Des Plaines, joined the varsity coaching staff under the late Carl Favaro in 2004 as the outside linebacker coach and he held that position until 2009. From 2009-11 he served as the head sophomore coach, helping develop the future varsity players for the coming years. His sophomore teams finished second in the Chicago Catholic League (CCL) Blue in 2009 and won the conference crown in 2010 and 2011. Desherow was also the varsity defensive line coach from 2011-19.
Before he was a coach, he was tearing it up as a player for the Ramblers. Desherow was a starting outside linebacker in 1991 and 1992 on teams that went a combined 24-3, including finishing second at state in 1992. He helped them win back-to-back Chicago Catholic League (CCL) championships in 1991 and 1992. He was a first team all-conference selection as a senior and was rated as the third best linebacking prospect in the state. For his stellar playing career, he was inducted into Loyola’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.
In college, he earned a full ride to play NCAA Division I football at University of Tulsa, before finishing his career at North Park University. He spent two years at Tulsa, before finishing his career at North Park.
At Loyola, Desherow has played or coached on five state runner-up teams and two state champions.
Desherow is one of just five head coaches for the football program since 1979 and he is the 25th head coach in program history, dating back to 1909. Loyola Academy football is 737-365-42 all-time in 114 previous seasons.
Outside of the COVID-shortened season in the spring of 2021 that didn’t have playoffs, the Ramblers have qualified for the playoffs 19 straight years, dating back to 2003.
“Beau Desherow is absolutely the right person to lead our championship football program and continue the football tradition of excellence,” Atwood, who calls Desherow goal-oriented and adept at leveraging the wide-ranging talents of his players, said. “Beau has been a leader at Loyola Academy and in the football program for two decades. His ties to the football program are extensive: he was on the 1992 state finalist team, he is a former varsity assistant coach and head sophomore coach, and his sons have also been part of the football program in recent years. The football search committee was impressed with Beau’s understanding of our shared Jesuit mission, its significance in our football culture, and his commitment to continuing the winning tradition of our football program.”
Getting hired as the head coach at his alma mater means he gets to remain home at the place he deeply cares about.
His four sons have all graduated or will graduate from Loyola Academy, starting with James (2013), Bobby (2016), Luke (2020) and finally JP (2023). Bobby was part of the 2015 state champion team and went on to play college football from 2016-20 at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Luke was part of the 2018 state champion team with his father on the coaching staff and he went on to play college football at Grand Valley State University and later Lindenwood University.
Unlike most, Desherow has a unique perspective with the program as a player, coach and parent.
“Loyola Academy football is built on tradition and a commitment to excellence, and I am honored to be selected as the next head coach,” Desherow said. “This program means everything to me. I understand the history and tradition I’m stepping into and I look forward to working with our outstanding student-athletes and coaching staff to write the next chapter.”
Desherow’s wife Danielle is even from around the area, graduating in 1993 from Louise de Marillac High School, an all-girls Catholic secondary school in Northfield, that merged with Loyola Academy in 1994.
Desherow has nearly 20 years of administrative experience at Loyola Academy, where he currently serves on the school’s executive leadership team as vice president for admission and enrollment, a position he has held since 2019. Prior to that, from 2004-to-2006, he served as assistant director of admissions and, from 2006-to-2019, as assistant dean of students.
While he has coached most of his career at Loyola, he actually got his start at North Park University as a defensive line coach.
Desherow was selected out of 70-plus candidates as the Loyola Academy staff worked hard over the last three months to find the right candidate for the defending state champions. Despite Holecek stepping down, he still helped the school where he could to find the next coach.
“Beau brings it all,” Holecek said. “I’ve worked with Beau for almost twenty years. He has grit, a winning mindset, and the ability to lead and develop student-athletes. Loyola Academy football is in good hands.”
Desherow, who holds a bachelor of science in organizational management and leadership from North Park University and a master of education in administration and leadership from National Louis University, will immediately assume football duties while wrapping up the current admissions cycle for Loyola’s incoming Class of 2027. He will begin the transition into the athletics department in the summer, according to the school.
“We extend a deep gratitude to John Holecek for his commitment to Loyola Academy’s football program, which flourished during what we can only call the Holecek Era,” Loyola Academy President Rev. Gregory J. Ostdiek, SJ said. “Under the direction and leadership of Beau Desherow, Loyola’s winning tradition is poised to reach new heights. A focused and steady natural leader, Beau is well-suited to this role. We look forward to cheering for the Ramblers and coach Desherow in the fall.”Support local news by subscribing to the Journal & Topics in print or online.
Leave a Reply