On December 16, 2010, beloved football coach, teacher and Evanston Township High School athletic director John S. Riehle passed away at his home in Glenview. He was 63 years old.
Growing up in Franklin Park, John attended Luther North High School where he played football and baseball. He was a Chick Evans Scholar at the University of Illinois, Champaign and played four years of football there as a walk-on. After graduation, John married Kathy Jacobsen, a fellow student at Luther North High. His first teaching and coaching job was at Austin High School in Chicago, where he coached football.
Following his tenure at Austin, John went on to coach football at Elmhurst College, before making the move to Oak Park-River Forest High School where he became defensive coordinator. He also was an assistant baseball and girls basketball coach at Oak Park . Accepting the head football position at Evanston Township High School in 1987, Coach Riehle led the Wildkits to a 97-31 record in 12 seasons, winning seven conference championships, and making the state playoffs for ten years. He had 45 full-scholarship players with four players reaching the NFL. Riehle was a former president of the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association and was elected to its Hall of Fame.
Coach stepped down from football at Evanston in 2000 to become athletic director, where he was known for his love of the students, his quick wit, and his hands-on style at contests. He brought the basketball games between historic rivals Evanston and New Trier to Northwestern University, where the schools continue to nearly sell out Welsh-Ryan Arena; he upgraded the facilities, created a cable-TV show about ETHS athletics, and saw the Kits win several State titles during his administration. Coach also was a recreation leader at the Arlington Race Track in the summer, where he organized softball and soccer games for the workers and their families.
After leaving Evanston, Coach Riehle volunteered at the daytime homeless shelter in Evanston and was an assistant coach at Glenbrook North. He was a man of deep faith, with enormous energy and passion for work, and great love and appreciation for his friends and family. In addition to his wife Kathy of 40 years, Riehle is survived by three sons, Matt (Betsy) of Bloomington, IL; Mark of Scottsdale, AZ; and Luke of Glenview; two sisters, Twyla (Joe ) of Whitewater, WI; Karen (Ken) of Wayne, IL and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held from 4:00-9:00 PM at NH Scott & Hanekamp Funeral Home, 1240 Waukegan Road, Glenview on Sunday, December 19th. Services will be held on Monday, December 20th at 10:30 AM at the Lutheran Church of the Ascension, 460 Sunset Ridge Road in Northfield.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Evanston Township High School, c/o the Athletic Department, to support the work of ETHS athletics and its student-athletes.