By Pride Haggerty When most students think about Mr. Chuck Spagnoli, they often think the football coach. But what they aren’t aware of is that coaching isn’t the only thing that defines him; he has a whole separate life off the football field.
Spagnoli grew up in Lincolnwood, which is on the north edge of Chicago. He went to Niles West High School and Illinois State University. Then after graduating, he went on to work at Gordon Tech High School.
Coach Spagnoli has directed the varsity football program at Lake Forest High School for about 20 years.
Now he works here at Lake Forest High School, where he teaches woodshop, PE, and also in the Special Education department.
Outside of school, Spagnoli enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and friends, as well as hunting and fishing. You can spot him in central Wisconsin, where he often goes hunting.
He has a 27-year-old daughter who he loves to spend time with. It doesn’t matter what they are doing, “whether it be going to a ball game or the grocery store,” Spagnoli said. “Anytime spent with her is enjoyable.”
Not only does he love spending time with his wife and daughter but also his friends.
“He will offer to help you do anything. From building a deck or cutting down trees to assisting in re-sealing your driveway. Coach Spagnoli is a great person to have in your corner,” fellow football coach Joe Busse said.
Spagnoli’s dream day looks like it does here at LFHS. Going to school, seeing everyone, and talking to people in the building are some things Spagnoli loves. He especially enjoys game days where, after school, he gets to head to West Campus to coach. It’s even more fun, he says, when they end up winning.
After the game, Spagnoli loves to rehash the good and bad things that happened during the game with all the other coaches.
Spagnoli’s motivation for becoming a football coach was driven by all the schemes that can be made on the field. There are 22 people on the field at once, so he loves how he can use his imagination to create unique and strategic plays.
“As a young coach, it is great to see how he makes decisions, perceives situations, and uses his past experience to lead his next decision,” Busse said.
Football has given Spagnoli a lot.
“Especially the relationships that are forged as a result,” Spagnoli said.
He can’t help but feel genuine emotion for all the relationships that he’s made. Some of them he’s made through football have lasted a long time, including graduated football players that have stayed in touch.
Many recognize Spagnoli for his overwhelming sense of selflessness, whether on the field, in the classroom, or at home.
“He’ll do anything for his players not only on the field but also off,” said junior Tommie Aberle.
Spagnoli differs from other coaches in the sense that he doesn’t need all the pre-game rituals like music, the band, or a big crowd. In fact, “the hype-up part,” he said, “is not me.”
Instead, he enjoys calmness before the game. All the work that got him and the team there is what he cares more about.
Spagnoli doesn’t have a solid plan for the future, although he will eventually retire. But he doesn’t see a future where he isn’t working or coaching.
He is most appreciative of his wife and players. Especially his wife because without her, he says, his family wouldn’t have been made.
“She keeps me grounded and keeps me from thinking beyond my means,” Spagnoli said.
He appreciates his player’s ability to have such a strong mental makeup and ability to overcome any obstacles that have been thrown at them. The reason for all the successful seasons, he says, is because of them. So he can’t give them enough credit for that, and they can’t give him enough credit as well.
“He changed me into a better man, and I will for sure be in touch with him after high school,” varsity football captain Robert Pasinato said.