In high school sports, coaching is absolutely critical.
Not only for producing results on the playing field, but in molding great men for others who will make an impact on the world.
Saint Ignatius High School is fortunate to employ three of the best 100 high school coaches in the United States, according to Max Preps: Chuck Kyle '69, Mike McLaughlin '85, and Pat O'Rourke '90.
All three Wildcats' coaches have made an enormous impact upon Saint Ignatius Athletics. But more importantly, these three men have formed men of character for years and years. At Saint Ignatius, coaches are measured more by the type of men they cultivate as much as the number of wins they record. And in both regards, Kyle, McLaughlin, and O'Rourke have been wildly successful.
Beyond producing multiple generations of quality men, Chuck Kyle has enjoyed great success on the football field. In his 37 seasons at the helm, Kyle has tabulated a 358-95-1 record and has won a record 11 OHSAA Division I State Championships, along with four mythical national titles. Kyle currently stands as the fourth-winningest head coach in Ohio football history, just three wins shy of climbing to third on the leaderboard. Kyle is responsible for over half of the program's 708 wins, which is impressive at a school with a football history dating back to the 1910s.
Kyle has also served as the head track & field coach for over 45 years, producing a couple of state titles there, too. Many of his football players have become superior athletes on the track and in the ring.
But his most essential role is as an English teacher. Kyle now teaches freshmen English I. His pregame speeches often include quotes from Shakespeare or other great works of literature that he teaches in the classroom.
In his limited free time, he also works for the Cleveland Browns as a youth football advisor, helping to make the game safer for the next generation.
Mike McLaughlin also coaches in the fall, but on the soccer pitch. Since assuming the reins as head coach in 1995, McLaughlin has constructed a national powerhouse at the corner of West 30th and Lorain.
After a Hall of Fame playing career with the football and soccer teams, McLaughlin slowly built a juggernaut soccer program. Since he captured the program's first state title in 2004, it's been an avalanche of trophies. The proud Irishman has amassed a record nine OHSAA Division I state crowns, along with five national titles. Max Preps named the Soccer Cats the "Team of the Decade" after winning six state and four national championships from 2010-19.
In his 25-year run, McLaughlin has compiled a 428-52-53 (.803) record. He currently stands in fifth in Ohio for career coaching victories on the soccer pitch. And how's this for a stat: 428 of the Wildcats' 628 all-time victories have come with McLaughlin coaching. That's a crazy 68%.
McLaughlin is also a veteran of the Theology Department. In addition to teaching, he's served as Sophomore Service Director for many years.
Speaking of juggernauts, Pat O'Rourke has forged one of the most dominant hockey dynasties in Ohio history. When O'Rourke took the gig prior to the 2004-05 season, the Wildcats were a solid program with one state title in 2000. But O'Rourke took them to another level.
The Wildcats have rattled off 13 winning seasons in a row, without a double-digit number in the loss column since 2007. O'Rourke won his first state crown as a head coach in 2009-10 and added another in 2013-14. And then the best dynasty in OHSAA hockey history began.
In the last half-decade, the Wildcats have been nearly unbeatable. In that span, the Wildcats have won an OHSAA record four straight state championships, and reached the State Semifinal this winter before the outbreak of COVID-19 caused the cancelation of the state tournament. The Wildcats have an amazing 154-30-5 record during that span. And since 2010, O'Rourke and the Wildcats have a 22-4 record against rival St. Edward.
O'Rourke currently ranks sixth all-time in OHSAA hockey coaching wins 447. In his time at Wildcat High, O'Rourke has an incredible 447-129-23 record.
O'Rourke serves as the Director of Admissions at Saint Ignatius. He also spends time in the classroom as a Latin teacher.
Looking at the full Max Preps list, only one other school in the country matches the Wildcats with three coaches – Mater Dei in Santa Ana, California. The only other Ohio coaches on the list were Padua volleyball coach James BeHarry and Steubenville football coach Reno Saccoccia.
Indeed, coaching talent abounds at Saint Ignatius, as several others could make a case to be on the list, including rugby head coach Dan Arbeznik '00, who has won five state titles since 2014.
But more important than victories on the field are the wins off of it in the quality young men produced. And in that category, these three Saint Ignatius honorees have no peers.