Former Libertyville coach Bogumil remembered as joyful, friendly basketball junkie

  • Former Libertyville boys basketball coach Scott Bogumil passed away suddenly Saturday night.

    Former Libertyville boys basketball coach Scott Bogumil passed away suddenly Saturday night. Daily Herald File Photo

Updated 2/16/2021 5:37 PM

Rivals and adversaries inside the lines, most high school coaches are friends with each other outside of them.

Coaching fraternities may not produce your typical friendships, but, in many cases, they are genuine and they are often forever.


It had been at least six months, maybe even a year, since Stevenson boys basketball coach Pat Ambrose had talked with Scott Bogumil.

The two used to talk and see each other often when Bogumil was the head boys basketball coach at Libertyville, a position he held from 2004 to 2014.

Ambrose decided to pick up the phone on Saturday night to reach out to Bogumil and pick his brain on Lake Forest Academy. The Patriots were going to play Lake Forest Academy on Monday and Ambrose wanted the scoop.

"I didn't know much about Lake Forest Academy," Ambrose said. "But I knew that Scott would know."

Bogumil was an assistant coach at Northridge Prep, which plays Lake Forest Academy on a regular basis.

"It was fun to talk with Scott," Ambrose said. "It always was fun to talk with him. His laugh, like this deep belly laugh, was very distinctive and unique, and he often laughed at himself. We talked basketball, but we also laughed and just caught up on family and everything. He couldn't have been nicer, and we had a nice, pleasant conversation.

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"That was at about 7 o'clock on Saturday night."

Shocked and heartbroken, Ambrose found out the next day that the 52-year-old Bogumil, still a full-time academic counselor at Libertyville, had died later that night after their conversation.

Bogumil's cause of death has not been confirmed, but friends of the family have learned that it was likely a massive heart attack. Bogumil leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

"It's chilling. I just can't stop thinking about it," Ambrose said of speaking to Bogumil on the night of his death. "He never said anything about feeling bad or worn down. He didn't indicate any health problems of any kind.

"Everything seemed to be fine. It was still the same joyful, friendly Scott who loved to talk basketball. There was no hint of anything wrong."


Ambrose, who had many memorable battles with Bogumil and Libertyville, says that he always appreciated Bogumil's passion on the sideline.

"It was his demeanor, the way he whistled, his laugh, all the energy he had, his happiness on the bench. That's what I remember most about Scott," Ambrose said. "He was also a very good coach and he was kind of like every other coach in which you follow the code: you're friendly with other coaches until the week you play each other. Then, you're not calling each other, stuff like that.

"You have these longtime nemeses, like Scott and I were, but they're also longtime colleagues and friends. You develop a unique relationship with these guys. You compete with them, but you understand them. You try to beat them, but you empathize with them. And outside of the gym, you're good friends."

Bogumil was the head coach at Libertyville for 11 seasons from 2004 to 2015. His record there was 140-154 and he was one of four coaches to win more than 100 games at the school.

Before Libertyville, Bogumil was the head coach at Gordon Tech for seven years and took his team downstate in 2000.

"A lot of the things we do now are things that Scott put in place. He put down a great foundation here," said current Libertyville boys basketball coach Brian Zyrkowski, who got his start at the school on Bogumil's staff coaching the boys sophomore team. "Scott knew so much about basketball. He was a basketball junkie. He knew every team, every moment, just everything you need to know about basketball.

"It was always fun to talk basketball with him."

In fact, Zyrkowski just met with Bogumil last week to talk hoops.

"Just the other day, I went down to his office and we talked basketball," Zyrkowski said. "That's how Scott was with everything. If someone needed something, he'd stop everything just to talk with them. He was a good guy. When you got to know him, you realized what a great person he is."

Zyrkowski is still having a hard time accepting that his friend and mentor is so suddenly gone.

"I think we are all in disbelief," Zyrkowski said. "I mean, I just had that conversation with him and he was laughing and smiling. I hate it that I won't be able to go to his office again and talk with him."

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