Boys Soccer: Neuqua Valley post ‘a great opportunity’ for Skip BegleyHinsdale Friday 5/20/11Hinsdale Central's Soccer coach, Skip Begley argues a penalty call with an official during the regional game against Fenwick. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 2, 2012 12:04PM
When longtime soccer coach Skip Begley recently retired from Hinsdale Central, he knew he wouldn’t be able to stay away from the sport he loved for very long.
His criteria were pretty simple. He wanted to coach in the fall, leaving the spring open to travel with his wife. He wanted a job close to his Plainfield home so he wouldn’t have the commute to Hinsdale he had before.
Begley applied for some assistant coaching jobs in the area, but when Neuqua Valley’s boys soccer job came open, that was the position that kept coming back to the forefront for him.
Earlier this month, Begley was named the fourth head coach in program history, following Doug Ross, Jim Johns and Tony Kees.
“I narrowed it down and came across this and thought it was a great opportunity,” Begley said. “I know all the coaches who were there (before). I know their success and history. For me, it’s a combination of convenience along with quality.”
In addition to being the Physical Education Department Chair at Hinsdale Central, he also coached the boys varsity team from 1996 through 2001 and the girls team from 1998 through 2011, when he stepped down to let his eventual replacement, Michael Smith, get his feet wet before Begley retired.
He turned the girls program into one of the best in the state, winning a state title in 2009. He comes to a Neuqua boys program that has established itself as one of the best, as well. The Wildcats won a state title in 2003, finished second in 2007 and fourth in 2008.
The fact that he was taking over a program with athletes similar to the ones he coached at Hinsdale Central, both on the field and in the classroom, was important to Begley.
“Coming from Hinsdale Central and going to a school like Neuqua, you deal with the same kind of kids,” Begley said. “The commitment to school and excellence carries through the entire school, whatever they’re dedicated to. Being able to work with that kind of student is a plus as a coach because you know they’ll work hard.”
Despite not coaching varsity boys since 2001, Begley has been active coaching boys and girls in the American Youth Soccer Organization and the Illinois Olympic Development Program, so jumping back into coaching boys after a long time strictly coaching girls at Hinsdale Central was not an obstacle for him.
“I’ve always said the message is the same when you’re dealing with high school kids, I just think the delivery and method is different with girls than boys,” Begley said. “It’s all about building relationships. You have to have kids have a feeling that you’re involved in their development and have their best interests in mind.”
Begley said that he plans on doing some substitute teaching to better get to know the students and staff in addition to his coaching duties in the fall. When he is back from traveling in the spring, he plans on volunteering in some capacity, whether it is with Joe Moreau and the girls program at Neuqua or at another venue.
One thing is for sure, retirement was not going to stop Begley from coaching soccer.
“Some guys tinker with cars or remodel the basement (in retirement), but I told the people at Neuqua that I enjoy coaching,” Begley said. “Just to stay around the kids, this just seemed like a great opportunity for me.”