Family for the win: Mertens leaves coaching for his family


Photo by Photo by Kaitlin Geisler

Luke Mertens, football coach and English teacher, can often be seen on the second floor instructing his students on Shakespeare or any number of other literary works. With Mertens leaving next year, their new English teacher will have to step into his role as a mentor.

Luke Mertens, football coach, unexpectedly announced he is leaving coaching and teaching after this year is over.

“I’m going to miss the relationships with the kids, for sure. They’re the reason you get into this profession in the first place, and my students and players have been awesome,” Mertens said.

Despite Mertens leaving this year, the team still has to win another season next year.

“Everyone was surprised [about Coach Mertens leaving]. No one saw it coming, it came all at once. We’re all just kinda anxious about what’s going to happen with the new coach and staff this year and how things are going to change,” Luke Mathis, junior football player, said.

But Mertens had personal reasons for leaving the team.

“I have an opportunity that would provide me a lot more flexibility to be around my family because I have sacrificed a lot of family time in my current role,” said Mertens.

While Mertens moves on to greener fields, the football team is still adjusting to the sudden development.

“[There is] a lot of uncertainty [about how the season may turn out next year],” Mathis said, “but I think [we’ll pull through].”

Mertens is leaving at the end of the year to be more involved with a family-owned business, but it doesn’t mean he’s forgetting his time at Lake Zurich.

“I’ll definitely miss Friday nights [because] that’s a pretty special thing, as everyone that’s been a part of it can attest to,” Mertens said. “My identity has always been ‘Coach Mertens,’ so it’s going to be odd not having that piece of my identity right now. That’s definitely going to be an emotional change for me.”