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Prep Sports

Prep football: Starkey won't return as Lockport coach

Lockport coach Dan Starkey overlooks practice in August. Starkey's contract won't be renewed after a five-year stint at the helm where he posted a 15-31 mark at the school.
Lockport coach Dan Starkey overlooks practice in August. Starkey's contract won't be renewed after a five-year stint at the helm where he posted a 15-31 mark at the school.

LOCKPORT – Lockport Township High School announced Friday that Dan Starkey will not return as the school’s head football coach next season.

Starkey posted a 15-31 record during his five seasons coaching the Porters. His 2016 team went 6-4 and made the playoffs, but he had four losing seasons, including a 2-7 mark in 2017 and an 0-9 record in 2018. This past season was the first time since 1934 that a Lockport football team lost all of its games on the field.

“Lockport High School will not renew Dan Starkey as head football coach for 2019,” Lockport Athletic Director Michael Dwyer said in a statement. “We are grateful for Dan’s passion, character and work ethic these last five seasons, as well as the relationships and connections he made within our community. 

“We will be posting the position soon and look forward to continuing to work toward making Lockport football a successful experience for our student-athletes and our community.”

Starkey came to Lockport with a lot of good credentials after serving for six years as the head coach at Glenbard South and then four more years in the same role at New Trier.

While at Glenbard South from 2004 to 2009, his teams went 37-26 and advanced to the playoffs four times, including his last three years there, when the Raiders reached the state quarterfinals in both 2008 and 2009. During his tenure at New Trier from 2010 to 2013, Starkey’s teams made four straight playoff trips and compiled a 22-18 record.

“I am extremely disappointed in the decision,” Starkey said in a release. “I passionately looked forward to working through the challenges we faced in a positive manner. I want to thank my family, the Lockport administration, the coaching staff and the football booster parents for their support and efforts in making Porter football a great experience for all.”

Lockport enjoyed some of its greatest success during Bret Kooi’s 17 years as head coach from 1994 to 2010. The Porters made 10 playoff appearances and won Class 8A state championships in both 2002 and 2003. But during the past eight seasons, the Porters have had only two winning seasons and made two playoff appearances.

With the program’s all-time wins leader Bill Zimmer coaching for 34 years from 1960 to 1993 and then Kooi succeeding him, the Porters had great stability in their program with only two coaches over a span of 51 years. Now, they’ll have their third different coach since 2011.

Lockport will be the fourth school in the area under new leadership in 2019. Joliet Central, Plainfield East and Plainfield North also will have new head coaches next season.

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