Weissenstein credits Ashley for career achievement

  • Buffalo Grove product KC Dunne, here trying to make a tag on Rolling Meadows' Sam Anderson, is now a key contributor at Davenport.

    Buffalo Grove product KC Dunne, here trying to make a tag on Rolling Meadows' Sam Anderson, is now a key contributor at Davenport. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Angela Herman, left, recently won the 200-meter dash for Illinois Wesleyan in the CCIW indoor track meet.

    Conant's Angela Herman, left, recently won the 200-meter dash for Illinois Wesleyan in the CCIW indoor track meet. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/23/2015 2:06 PM

When he was student at Prospect High School, Steve Weissenstein said it was a privilege having many incredible teachers who provided invaluable inspiration.

But one did stand out.

 

"I had so many incredible teachers and coaches at Prospect who inspired me, and I understood the impact they had on my life," Weissenstein said. "But without a doubt the man who had the biggest impact on me was my freshman basketball coach, Ron Ashley."

After playing for Ashley, Weissenstein had pretty much made up my mind that he wanted to be a teacher and coach.

Almost 40 years later, he has succeeded pretty well at both, to say the least,

In 2009, Weissenstein was named the Glenbrook South High School's Teacher of the Year.

This May 2 on the campus of Illinois State, the long time Titans boys and girls basketball coach will be inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Although he began as a CPA for Arthur Andersen after graduating from the University of Illinois, Weissenstein knew pretty quickly that accounting was not his life's work.

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So he obtained his teaching certificate from Northern Illinois, and the rest is history.

He credits his years at Prospect High School with influencing his decision to enter the field of education.

"He (Ashley) was just and an amazing person and coach," Weissenstein said. "He chiseled the fundamentals of the game into my mind and constantly encouraged me to get better. The other attribute I took from coach Ashley was the way he treated people. Whether a student was an athlete or not, you could see he had a genuine concern for everyone, and treated each person with respect. And he had a great sense of humor.

"Even though he wasn't the varsity coach at the time, he would attend our varsity summer league games at Ridgewood High School. It has been almost 40 years since I played for coach Ashley, but his signature is still on the teams I coach and classes I teach."

And now Weissenstein has put his signature on Glenbrook South, both as a teacher (business) and basketball coach.

In 26 years as a head Titans basketball coach (17 with the girls and nine with the boys) he owns a career record of 443-291.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Both tenures are the longest for a South girls or boys basketball coach.

When Weissenstein guided the Titans boys team to the conference championship in 1994, it was the school's first in 28 years and was he named the IBCA District 4 Co-Coach of the Year.

He led South to its second boys regional championship in 1996 along with two Fenton Thanksgiving Tournament championships (1993 and 1995).

As girls coach, Weissenstein won three conference championships (2004, 2008, 2010), six regional titles (2004, 2007, 2010, '11, '12, '15) and a sectional championship in 2004.

The Titan girls also won four Schaumburg Thanksgiving Tournament championships, two Wheaton North Christmas Tournament championships and one Mundelein Thanksgiving Tournament championship under Weisenstein.

Hi directed the girls to eight 20-plus winning seasons, including the 2004 team which won 31 straight games. That was one of three seasons in which Weissenstein was an IBCA District 4 Co-Coach of Year (also 2010 and 2012).

All these accomplishments make it clear why Weisenstein is joining an elite group of Hall of Famers.

Not bad for someone who started out as a CPA.

"It didn't even enter my mind when I was a student at Prospect that I would be a varsity coach," Weissenstein said. "Let alone one that would be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I figured I would be perfectly content to coach freshman basketball and football, just like coach Ashley."

However, his career took a new path in 1986.

"A great friend of mine, Rob Judson, was the boys coach at Glenbrook South, and he helped me get a teaching and coaching job at the school," Weissenstein said. "When he left to become a college coach in 1989, I decided to throw my hat into the ring and got the job. I was very blessed to have learned so much from Rob, as he is an amazing coach (currently an assistant at Illinois). There is no way I would have become a head coach without his tutelage, guidance, and support."

Appropriately enough, the 2004 team had ties to Prospect.

The Titans not only won the sectional that year at Weissenstein's alma mater, they also defeated Prospect before a huge crowd in the championship game for a 31st straight win.

"It was awesome winning the sectional," Weissenstein said. "But what made it even more special was sitting on the bench where I played at Prospect."

And where it all started as a freshman with coach Ron Ashley.

Women's softball

Davenport senior KC Dunne (Buffalo Grove) was selected by the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference as its Player of the Week for softball.

Dunne hit .571 on the week with two home runs and a double to drive in seven. She went 8-for-14 during four games to help No. 23 Davenport post a 2-2 record. Both of her home runs came during a doubleheader with Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) in which DU suffered just its second and third losses of the season: 11-4 and 11-5. Dunne was a perfect 3-for-3 during an 11-0 win against Bluffton (Mich.), and drove in three during a 10-2 win against Alma (Mich.). Davenport is now 16-3 overall and will wait to see what their new ranking will be on Tuesday when the NAIA announces the first updated poll of the season.

Baseball

Concordia-Chicago freshman Joe Silva (Hersey) was honored as the school's athlete of the week for baseball when he batted .333 (5-for-15) with 4 runs and 6 RBI in the Cougars' four games in Tucson.

He drove in a crucial game-tying run with two out in the ninth inning of CUC's game with second-ranked University of St. Thomas that sent the March 13 game into extra innings. Silva also reached base six times via the walk and recorded an on-base percentage of .524 for the weekend.

• Millikin freshman Erik Schurtz (Rolling Meadows) was 3-for-3 with 2 RBI and a home run in the Big Blue's 15-4 victory over visiting Dominican in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday. Millikin improved to 7-4.

Women's water polo

Villanova junior Julie Conrath (Fremd) is averaging 10 saves per game for the Wildcats, who went 6-2 on a road trip against California teams. Prior to that, the team hosted and won the Villanova Invitation tournament, going 4-0.

Conrath is studying chemical engineering and has maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.8.

She was named to the MAAC Academic Honor Roll and has earned Villanova University Deans' List honors every semester.

In addition, Conrath has been appointed to attend the Student-Athlete Leadership Institute, and named her to the Student-Athlete Advisory Council.

Conrath is the reigning IHSA individual record holder for the most goalie saves in a season, and tallied over 1,000 saves during her career at Fremd. Her high school team never lost a MSL conference match and reached the state tournament each of her four years.

Women's softball

Winona State junior pitcher Hanna Lythberg (Prospect) has lowered her ERA to 0.75 and owns an 8-1 record after three complete game wins in Clermont, Fla. Lythberg allowed only 1 earned run in 23 innings while scattering 15 hits and striking out 18. She did not allowing an extra-base hit while walking just two.

Men's track

North Central College senior men's cross country and track and field student-athlete Travis Morrison (Schaumburg) has been selected as one of 58 fall student-athletes from the 2014 season to receive an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Morrison, a physics major from Hoffman Estates, Illinois, earned All-America honors last fall with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Division III cross country championships, helping lead the Cardinals to their NCAA record 16th Division III national championship in the sport. An Academic All-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin selection each of the past two years, Morrison has also competed at the national level for North Central's track and field program, first earning All-America honors as part of the Cardinals' distance medley relay team at the 2014 Division III Indoor Championships.

Morrison is North Central's first NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient since football player Peter Bulandr in 2012.

Morrison won the national title in the 5,000-meter run and placed fourth in the 3,000-meter at the NCAA Division III indoor national championships in Winston-Salem, N.C to earn all-American honors in both events.

Women's track

Illinois Wesleyan junior Angela Hermann took first place in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin indoor championships for the 200-meter dash with a time of 25:26 and she was part of the first-place 4X400 meter relay team (3:57:68).

Hermann finished third in the 55-meter dash in 7:23 and is a three-time CCIW Athlete of the Week. She is also on the dean's list.

The 4X400 meter relay was the final event of the two-day event and gave the Titans a 3-point win for the conference championship.

Women's diving

Lake Forest senior Christina Pekar (Prospect) placed eighth in 1-meter diving for her second all-American performance last week at the NCAA Division III swimming and diving championship in Shenandoah, Texas.

Pekar finished the finals with 418.95 points, improving 6.55 points from the afternoon prelims.

The 23 points she earned last Friday night and by placing seventh in Wednesday's 3-meter competition rank the Foresters 25th in the team standings.

Pekar completed her career as one of 13 athletes in program history to finish among the top 16 in the nation in an individual event four times in her career.

• Please email Sports Notes items to jleusch@dailyherald.com.

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