Duval's career has been full of success

Duval's career has been full of success

GREENVILLE — Dick Duval hits 300 Saturday.

In bowling, that would mark a perfect score.

For the veteran St. Joseph-Ogden football coach, the number marks the amount of varsity games he has coached at the school. No. 300 comes in an IHSA Class 3A state semifinal against Greenville.

Facing an opponent that scored 71 points one week ago, Duval recognizes his team might need a near-perfect performance to reach a state championship game for the fifth time in school history.

“It will be a challenge for us, but our kids are up for a challenge and hopefully will rise to the occasion,” Duval said.

For the 300th time in his Spartans tenure, Duval will be the coach on the sidelines without a headset. It’s by design.

“I wore them for two years as an assistant (to the late Alec Anderson) at Kankakee,” Duval said. “I would relay things (to Anderson) that upstairs (spotters) wanted him to know. He’d get infuriated with me. I never wore headsets again.”

Now the messages from those perched atop the press box are given to Duval by an assistant coach, his son Kiel.

“Kiel tells me what they’re thinking upstairs,” Duval said.

The head coach calls the offensive plays. Sometimes, there’s input from those overseeing the field.

“I listen more often than not,” Duval said. “They know what I want.”

There’s still plenty of SJ-O sideline coaches wearing headsets.

Defensive coordinator Bob Glazier is linked in with Shawn Skinner in the press box.

Kiel Duval is hooked up with Steve Fiscus upstairs; line coach Don Beckett is connected with Marshall Schacht.

Staying headset-free is not Duval’s only unique trait. Even with a state semifinal game approaching, he doesn’t gather with coaches and spend hours on Sunday game-planning.

“I let them have family time,” he said. “I want family time, too. We don’t get together as a staff (on Sundays).”

Glazier has been on Duval’s staff during all 26 years he’s coached the Spartans.

“He was hired about two weeks before I was,” Duval said.

Glazier was in line to be the head coach had the school’s search not turned up a viable candidate. Duval made a quick trip to town for an interview on Aug. 1, 1988.

“I told them I have to get back, my wife is due any day,” he said.

The session ended with administrators telling Duval they needed time to consider whether to make an offer.

“I drove from here to Kankakee, walked in the door, the phone was ringing and they said, ‘The job is yours if you want it,’ ” he related. “ I said, ‘I thought you were going to think about it,’ and they said, ‘We did, for an hour.’ ”

Two days later Toni Duval was born, and the new father was soon relocating the family.

It was a whirlwind, but a memorable time.

“I still remember Game 1,” Duval said. “We won in the last minute against PBL. Jim Haake (whose son Tyler is a junior on this year’s SJ-O team) caught the winning TD pass in the left corner of the end zone with about 20 seconds left.

“My wife sat in the stands with Toni, who was about 1 month old. After the game, John Wright Sr. welcomed me to the community.”

All three of the Duvals’ children were born in the first days of August. Kiel’s birthday is Aug. 1, and Bobbi Duval’s birthday is Aug. 8.

The question Duval has been facing — besides how to contain the high-powered Greenville offense — is whether his next loss will be his last? He is retiring as a teacher at the end of the school year but hasn’t yet made any other decisions.

He could also step aside as the Spartans’ athletic director and football coach, or continue in one capacity or both.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “At times I feel like I’m leaning one way. At times I feel like I’m leaning the other way. I’m going to wait until the season is over.”

SJ-O will be part of a new conference next year — the revamped Okaw Valley — and will have regular season games against area rivals such as Monticello, St. Thomas More and Unity.

“It would be intriguing to be part of the new conference, but at the same time, coaching is not a three-month job anymore,” Duval said. “It’s a 12-month job.”

Duval, whose career record is 228-71, promised he won’t wait indefinitely to determine his path.

“There are a lot of decisions to be made, and I won’t leave them hanging,” he said.

His most immediate decisions are the play calls he’ll make Saturday once the 2 p.m. Class 3A semifinal kicks off.

Spartan coaches

In the fall of 1963, St. Joseph and Ogden high schools merged into one district and started playing varsity football. Current coach Dick Duval is the school’s eighth head coach in the last 51 years:

Joel Colbert    1963-64    7-0-1
Dick Tharp    1964-66    16-0
Dick Cast    1966-73    40-18-2
Dale Doehring    1973-80    19-44
Mike Morris    1980-81    1-8
Terry Workman    1981-85    5-31
Kim Courtwright    1985-88    13-15
x-Dick Duval    1988-2013    228-71
Totals    51 years    329-187-3
x — record prior to state semifinals