Mork steps aside as Libertyville's coach

  • Libertyville boys basketball coach Brent Mork has stepped down to devote more time to his family. Here, he's leading the Wildcats during Thanksgiving tournament play at Maine West.

    Libertyville boys basketball coach Brent Mork has stepped down to devote more time to his family. Here, he's leading the Wildcats during Thanksgiving tournament play at Maine West. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/4/2017 11:10 PM

What Brent Mork called a "pretty significant change" in his household has led to a significant development for Libertyville's boys basketball team.

Mork officially handed in his resignation as Wildcats head coach on Thursday, three days after completing just his second season with the Wildcats.

 

Mork's wife, Kristi, who works in the corporate world, changed careers at the beginning of the year. The couple has two young daughters, Maggie, 4, and Teagan, 2. Besides coaching, Mork teaches drivers education and physical education at LHS.

"We have no family around here, so it's been a really hectic few months for us," said Mork, whose parents live in western Wisconsin, about five hours away. "The way things have unfolded the last couple of months it became clear that something had to give in our lives. I talk to the kids all the time about values -- and family values are right up there. It became clear that basketball for me was the part in our family that had to give."

"Coaching is a full-time job -- on top of the full-time teaching job," Mork added. "You can make it work, but you need help. There's a lot of stuff that goes into it. It just seemed a little too much for us over the last couple of months."

Prior to coming to Libertyville, Mork spent seven years at Stevenson and was a varsity assistant under boys basketball coach Pat Ambrose for three seasons. The Wildcats went 16-11 in Mork's first season last year, then followed up with a 12-16 campaign. While his decision to step down was not easy, he knows it was the right one.

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He will remain teaching at LHS.

"If I'm not going to be able to commit myself 100 percent to all aspects of the program, from the feeder on up, then it's not fair to the kids, the program, the community and the school," Mork said. "The hard part is that I think we made some good strides with the program, and I think we got a lot of good pieces coming back next year. Whoever takes over is definitely walking into a good environment and good situation."

Libertyville graduates five players, but the Wildcats boast a junior group led by 6-foot-7 guard Drew Peterson, who's drawn interest from several major Division-I schools.

"I look forward to watching these guys play," Mork said. "Like I told the kids, I'm going to miss being around them. I'm not going far obviously, being in the school still, but it's a little bit different from being there with them every day and going through the grind, including the summer grind. There's a lot of joy to that process. But it's an incredibly time-consuming process."

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