A year ago at this time, Alex Hernandez was mulling over the idea of resigning as head girls soccer coach at Lyons Township to spend more time with his family.
At the end of last season, he made that news official after leading the girls team to a fourth-place state finish.
While that move didn’t surprise some, this one will-Hernandez will not be back as head boys coach in the fall. After leading the Lions boys program to 83 wins over the past six seasons, Hernandez will be spending more time coaching at the Chicago Magic Soccer Club while also pursuing other outside ventures this fall.
“I am extremely proud of the accomplishments and successes that we had in a very short amount of time,” said Hernandez, whose team fell to Morton in the sectional final last season. “But now I have the opportunity to return to my roots of coaching club soccer. It also allows me to coach my own children who play for the Chicago Magic.”
Hernandez, who teaches English at Lyons, took over the boys program in 2001 and it’s safe to say the first year was quite bumpy. But after posting a 4-17 mark that inaugural season, Lyons finished with 13 or more wins each of the next five campaigns. The highlight was in 2005 when the Lions went 22-1-3 and advanced to the Class AA state quarterfinals. Their lone loss that fall came to Wheaton Warrenville South in the semifinals of the Pepsi Showdown.
Longtime assistant coach Paul Labbato is considered by many to be the front runner to succeed Hernandez. But as the case with all coaching positions at Lyons, a number of outside candidates are expected to apply for the premier position. Former St. Charles East, Barrington and Leyden coach Paul Keenan has already thrown his name into the ring.
When combined with his five years as girls coach, Hernandez’s reign produced 170 wins and five state finals appearances-four consecutive berths on the girls’ side.
“To be able to make it Downstate and bring back trophies was a big deal for these programs,” Hernandez said. “I’m going to miss them.”