High school sports dynasties: Boys No. 7, WW South volleyball
Editor's note: The Daily Herald is counting down the Top 10 boys and girls high school sports dynasties over the past 20 years, two at a time. We continue today at No. 7 with Wheaton Warrenville South boys volleyball and Stevenson girls gymnastics.
It started with Sean Rooney but continued for more than a decade with so many others.
Wheaton Warrenville South's boys volleyball dynasty wasn't about one player or even one group of players. Class after class came through the program determined to match and exceed the teams that came before.
It wasn't easy, although the Tigers' last title run in 2012 featured a 42-0 season-long romp. When former players get together -- and it happens often judging by the number of alumni seen at matches -- the debate rages about which team was the best.
The Tigers won seven IHSA state titles between 2001 and 2012 including five in six years and a three-peat between 2007 and 2009.
Bill Schreier, Tigers head coach since 1999, loves to listen but stays out of the eternal debate.
"Being a fly on the wall as they argue about it is fun," he said. "I just sit back and listen."
The unbeaten champions of 2001, 2004 and 2012 rise to the top, but the 2001 team may boast the tiebreaker. That was the year Rooney graduated en route to a college career at Pepperdine and a stint on the U.S. National Team from 2007 to 2014 where he made two Olympic appearances and won a Gold Medal in 2008.
With Rooney as the first, 29 players have competed at college including seniors Josh Gottlieb (Loyola) and Zeo Meyer (Brigham Young) from this season's team. Thomas Jaeschke, Class of 2012, went from Loyola University to a Bronze Medal in the 2016 Olympics.
"We kept it up for a lot of years by being able to plug in new people," Schreier said. "They realize there's a tradition and legacy that's bigger than them. Everyone pushes each other in the gym to make the practices as competitive as the games."
Rooney, Jaeschke, Matt McCarthy, Joe Kelly, Doug Burchett, and on and on, the legends just kept coming through the program.
"It's great to see how these guys are still part of Tigers volleyball," Schreier said. "We've created a family."