Bob Lozano didn't want Montini's boys basketball coaching job under these circumstances. Yet he is proud and excited to succeed his friend, the late Daryl Thomas, in the position.
"Under the circumstances I was really content and happy being a part of the program as the sophomore coach before our tragedy," Lozano said, referring to Thomas' March 28 death from a heart attack at age 52.
"It was bittersweet, a tragedy, but I really wanted to be a part of it," Lozano said. "They did their interview process and I was lucky enough to be selected as the next head coach and continue what Daryl started."
Officially announced on Wednesday as Broncos coach, Lozano first worked with Thomas in 2012 at the Bulls/Sox Youth Academy in Lisle, where Lozano is a part-time basketball coach, trainer and camp supervisor and Thomas was a lead instructor in player development. When Thomas became Montini's head coach in 2015 Lozano joined his staff as head sophomore coach and varsity assistant.
Lozano, 52, had a 43-33 record as sophomore coach. He helped Thomas to a 35-50 varsity record in three seasons, 17-11 last season, the best mark in five years.
"I think about Daryl every minute of the day," said Lozano, a 1984 Morton East graduate who lives in Berwyn. "If I'm not at Bulls/Sox I'm at home and if I'm not at home I'm at Montini, and he's always on my mind. Just the philosophy that he brought to Montini, hard-nosed, the camaraderie, the sharing of the basketball, the hard defense -- the things that he was known for that he brought here. I just want to keep growing that philosophy."
Lozano started coaching basketball in 2002 as a volunteer with the Berwyn Recreational Department. From 2007-13 he coached Morton High School's feeder program, developing players who went on to win the 2009 Proviso West Holiday Tournament. In 2012 Lozano filled a freshman coaching vacancy at the high school and finished with a 36-19 record.
His staff at Montini already set, Lozano plans to bring aboard two former Morton players, brothers Mike and Joey Belcaster, along with current Broncos assistants Chris Jenkins and Dom Deal.
"I'm just excited about the upcoming season," Lozano said. "I'm looking forward to the month of June for my contact with the kids, and I'm excited about where Montini basketball is going. I love looking at all those banners in that gym and I want to see one of them for boys basketball."