D211 Post: Fremd Girls Basketball Claims 4A State Title

The William Fremd High School Girls Basketball team claimed the IHSA Class 4A State Title March 7, 2020.  The team finished the season with a 28 and 7 record. 

D211 Post: Coach Shows Toughness in the Face of Adversity

Drew Shulman, who was born without a left hand, was a four-year, three-sport athlete at Elk Grove High School. He is now the girls’ sophomore basketball coach at Conant.


This article was submitted by Conant Crier staff writer Isaac Goffin.  The Crier is the student newspaper of James B. Conant High School.  To read the original article or more from the Crier, click here.

Due to a congenital birth defect, head sophomore girls’ basketball coach Drew Shulman couldn’t tie his shoes until the fourth grade. The defect, which caused Shulman to be born without a left hand, never frustrated the once three-sport athlete from Elk Grove High School. As an athlete, Shulman made a difference to his team through his leadership, and still does today as a coach, according to his colleagues and players.

Shulman got into sports because of his parents. “They pushed soccer at the beginning. I loved it. I loved the competitive nature, and it just grew from there,” he said. Shulman then started playing baseball and basketball and was allowed to play football starting in middle school.

He had to make his own adjustments to play with everyone else. In baseball, he played like former MLB player Jim Abbott, who was born without a right hand. Shulman caught and threw with the same hand by taking his glove off in the process. In basketball he would have to drive to the right hand side.

“I didn’t know any different, so there was no coping needed. I learned everything as everyone else did,” Shulman said. He added he had to learn skills a little slower, but knew he would always learn them.

“Just like everyone else, you learn to adapt, you learn to use what you’re given,” Shulman said.

This philosophy served him well one day at basketball practice when his varsity coach, Steve Messer, told his team that if they couldn’t drive to the left side of the basket with their left hand, they would be off the team. He asked each player on the team to demonstrate.

Messer said, “I wasn’t thinking about Drew when I said it. So Drew comes up right to the rim and pushes it off his thumb right into the basket. He didn’t complain; he didn’t make a big deal. He just pushed it off his thumb, and it went in.”

Shulman played football, basketball, and baseball all four years in high school. He was named Inspirational Athlete of the Year at the FOX Sports Net Sports Awards in Chicago in 2000. At the event, Shulman said, he met many famous Chicago sports figures, including former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon.

Messer didn’t think Shulman was going to make the varsity basketball team as a junior. But Shulman’s competitive instinct, his work ethic, and his knowledge of the game got him on the team. Messer was impressed not only with how Shulman accommodated his disability, but also with his speed.

Even though Shulman was able to make up for his disadvantages, it never led to him being a star player in terms of statistics. Instead, Shulman made a difference for his teams through his leadership.

Messer said, “A couple of times we had struggled a little bit, and I would be talking to the coaches. We were ready for a pre-game speech and I walked in and he was talking to them about his own version of what needs to happen. He would do it in the right way, too, so the kids were having fun and laughing. But there was something positive and instructional of what he said as well. He did that. I didn’t tell him.”

Messer added that when you tell most kids to be a leader, they just yell at the team. Instead, they need to provide them a shot of energy, which Shulman did while giving his team advice.

Shulman said, “I am always very competitive, and I usually knew what needed to be done, so I passed that information to my team. Is that being a leader? Sure, not in the usual sense of dominating a game. I was more of a vocal leader: give me the ball and ‘follow me’ leader.”

Messer also said Shulman was always confident in himself and didn’t allow his disability to get in the way.

“He never thought he couldn’t do it. You’ll have to ask him if there were times where he had self-doubt and felt like he couldn’t do something. I never saw it. I worked with the kid for two years, and I never saw it somehow. I never saw a lack of confidence,” Messer said.

Shulman said, “I always had confidence in my success, both as a team and as a teammate.”

Shulman went to Carroll University to play basketball but stepped away from the game after he had his first daughter, Hannah, in 2001. Hannah is now a junior at Conant and plays on the basketball team. Shulman went on to finish his degree in mathematics and completed his PhD in mathematics in 2011 at the University of Illinois-Chicago. He has been teaching there as a lecturer ever since.

Shulman said he loves his schedule. He teaches only in the morning, which allows him the time to coach girls’ basketball. He started coaching at Conant in 2009 as a freshman boys’ assistant. He then moved to the girls’ basketball program in 2011 as the freshman head coach and then to his current position in 2013.

Shulman’s colleagues also consider him a strong leader.

“I think the thing the stands out most with coach Shulman is how hardworking he is. It is easy to follow him as a leader because you know he is putting in the time to get better himself. He is vocal but will listen to your opinion and take it into account. These attributes make him a strong leader,” assistant girls’ basketball coach Todd Strauch said.

For the past three years, Shulman has had the fortune to have his daughter Hannah play basketball at Conant. Just like her father, Hannah is also a three-sport athlete.

Hannah said, “He can talk to us so well, and he’s so inspiring. I think we all learn from him. I know my friends say they really enjoyed him as a coach, even though he’s hard on us.”

Shulman has three more kids coming through Conant in the future: Marissa, age 10, Julia, age 7, and Matthew, who is 15 months old.

For his future, Shulman said he will continue to help grow girls’ basketball, which has seen their numbers grow, especially in the feeder program.

Strauch said, “Shulman is a great coach, athlete, and friend that doesn’t let anything stop him from reaching his best.”

FHS Varsity Girls’ Basketball Team Celebrates 4th Place in State Tournament

Fremd High School hosted a rally earlier this week to celebrate the Varsity Girls’ Basketball Team placing 4th in the IHSA State Tournament. During the rally, students competed against each other and staff in various basketball games. View photos of the rally, as well as the state trophy, below.

Principal Kurt Tenopir is presented the state trophy by the team’s captains.

Coach Dave Yates introduces the team at the rally.

Students and staff participated in basketball games for prizes.

The Varsity Girls’ Basketball team poses at a rally to celebrate their success at state.

The FHS varsity girls’ basketball team placed 4th in the IHSA State Tournament.

A highlight reel was played during the rally.

Saxons Announce New Head Girls’ Basketball Coach

Jacqueline Storm has been named varsity head girls’ basketball coach at Schaumburg High School.

Jacqueline Storm has been named varsity head girls’ basketball coach at Schaumburg High School.

Jacqueline Storm has been named varsity head girls’ basketball coach at Schaumburg High School, replacing Curtis Goodwin at the helm of the Saxon basketball program, who has stepped down after three seasons.

Storm, who teaches English at Schaumburg High School, has served as the Saxons’ girls’ basketball junior varsity coach since July 2015, and was the girls’ basketball assistant varsity coach from 2014-2015. Prior to coming to Schaumburg High School, she was the girls’ basketball sophomore coach at Romeoville High School (Romeoville, Ill.) from 2013-2014, the girls’ basketball varsity head coach at Gordon Tech High School (Chicago) from 2012-2013, and the freshman girls’ basketball coach at Carl Sandburg High School (Orland Park, Ill.) from 2010-2011. Additionally, she has been the varsity girls’ head tennis coach at Schaumburg High School since 2015.

“We couldn’t be happier with the selection of Coach Storm to lead our girls’ basketball program,” said Schaumburg High School Principal Tim Little. “Jacqie’s student- centered and a quality person. She’s the kind of person you’d want working with not only your student-athletes on the court, but your students in the classroom as well.”

Storm attended the University of St. Francis (Joliet, Ill.) from 2006-2010 where she was a four-year varsity letter winner on the women’s basketball team. She was a three-year captain of the team and was named Chicago Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Freshman of the Year. During her sophomore season, she reached the 1,000-point mark and scored a total of 1,834 points during her collegiate career. Storm was a two-year National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American honorable mention and four-year CCAC First Team All-Conference player.

Storm earned her bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of St. Francis, as well as master of science degree in educational leadership. She holds an Illinois Type 09 initial teaching certificate in secondary English/language arts, a language arts endorsement, and an Illinois Type 75 certificate in educational leadership.

Two New Head Coaches Announced for the Hoffman Estates High School Hawks

Mike Koester was named head girls basketball coach at Hoffman Estates High School.

Mike Koester was named head girls basketball coach at Hoffman Estates High School.

Mike Koester has been named head girls basketball coach and Kirk Macnider has been named head girls track & field coach at Hoffman Estates High School.  Koester replaces Mike Nocella at the helm of the girls basketball program, and Macnider assumes direction of the girls track & field for Dan Anderson.

Koester has taught science teach and been an assistant varsity girls basketball coach and the head sophomore girls basketball coach at McHenry East (campus) High School for the past eight years.  He also has served as an assistant varsity football coach at the school from 2006-2012, working on the defensive side of the ball.  He was the head freshmen football coach from 2009-2011, and the head sophomore football coach in 2012.  Prior to coming to McHenry in 2006, Koester worked at Lincoln (Ill.) Community High School from 2004-2006, teaching honors science classes and coaching football and swimming.

Kirk Macnider was named head girls track & field coach at Hoffman Estates High School.

Kirk Macnider was named head girls track & field coach at Hoffman Estates High School.

“We’re thrilled to have Coach Koester taking over our girls basketball program,” commented Principal Jim Britton.  “He relates well with student-athletes and parents.  His enthusiasm and energy are unmatched, and his previous coaching experiences make him a perfect fit for this job.”

Koester graduated from Carthage College (Kenosha, Wis.) with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2003, playing on the school’s football team from 1999-2001.  He earned a master’s degree in teacher leadership from Carthage College in 2010, and is currently completing work on his second master’s degree in educational administration and leadership from St. Xavier (Chicago).

“Mike is an extremely hard worker in the athletic arena and in the classroom,” said Athletic Director Steve Lacni.  “His student-centered approach will pay dividends, and his knowledge and great depth of experience has already had a successful impact on the program.  His tireless work ethic and dedication will undoubtedly move the girls basketball program at Hoffman Estates High School onward and upward.”

Macnider, a Schaumburg High School graduate, has taught English at Hoffman Estates High School since beginning his teaching career in 2003, and has been an assistant girls track & field coach and the Hawks’ head girls cross country coach since 2004.  As an assistant girls varsity track & field coach, all HEHS school distance records have been broken since he entered the coaching ranks in 2004, and he has coached student-athletes at the IHSA state meeting in nine of the past 10 years.  As head cross country coach, his 2007 girls cross country squad was Mid-Suburban League champions, and his 2007 and 2011 teams were IHSA regional champions.  He has coached IHSA team state qualifiers in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2013, and more than 20 of his student-athletes have gone on to run at the collegiate level.

“Kirk is known for his commitment and enthusiasm not only for coaching and the sport, but for the kids as well,” said Britton.  “He has played a major role in the success of the cross country and track and field programs at Hoffman Estates High School.  We’re extremely happy with the direction of the programs, and Kirk is definitely the guy to keep them moving in the right direction.”

Macnider attended the University of Illinois-Chicago on a cross country and track scholarship, graduating with a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification in secondary English education from North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) in 2002.

“Kirk’s high expectations and standards for leading his cross country team will definitely translate as he takes over the girls track and field program,” said Lacni.  “Kirk is cut from a fine cross country and track and field pedigree.  As a teacher and coach, he is extremely focused, goal driven, and results oriented.  His energy and enthusiasm will continue to move the fine tradition of Hoffman Estates High School track and field in a successful direction.”