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Palatine's Donnelly reflects on mission accomplished
By Ryan O’Gara | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 1/11/2013 12:25 AM

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When Tyler Donnelly took the football head coaching job at Palatine in 2005, his goal was to turn the program around in five years, and that would be it.

For a team that had missed the playoffs the previous seven seasons, just qualifying for the postseason would be considered a successful turnaround.

It took Donnelly until his third season to reach that goal and once he did, he didn’t stop, leading Palatine to a 47-19 mark over his last six seasons.

While Donnelly did suffer from chronic stress fatigue that started in June and caused him to be hospitalized one week before the season opener at Montini, he insists that it’s very minor and nothing to be concerned about. The main reason for his resignation, which he made official on Tuesday, was that he wanted to spend more time with his kids.

Brooke (8) and Ryan (6) need a dad.

“Most people will say it’s my health but that, I feel like I can get under control,” Donnelly said. “I can’t rectify in my mind how I would tell my kids that I was never around for them when they’re older.”

Donnelly, who envisions coaching again sometime down the road, said the decision was made easy when talking to his mentor, former Palatine coach Joe Petricca, and reading about coaches such as Urban Meyer who regret missing time with their kids at a young age.

And going out with a star-studded senior class was the perfect end to a successful rebuilding project.

“I wanted to prove something, that we could turn this program around,” Donnelly said. “I did everything possible, while certainly not perfect, and I feel good about where I’m leaving the program. I didn’t want to leave the program in a bad situation, and I haven’t.”

“It’s been an unbelievable ride.”