Brian Flynn has two teams. One calls him "coach." To the other he is "dad." Flynn has been jockeying between both roles this fall and loving every minute.
"Coach" is headed to the Class 7A state championship football game Saturday in Champaign as offensive coordinator for St. Charles North High School. 'Dad" is serving as "Mr. Mom" to three daughters: Parker, 5; Riley, 3; and Dylan, 1.
"It's awesome," said Flynn, whose wife, Jessica, is an obstetrician. "Our babysitters do an amazing job during the season. Once the season is over, it's 'dad' and 'coach' takes a break."
This season has run longer than most. It's OK. Flynn knows all about deep playoff runs.
He was a junior starting quarterback on Central Catholic High School's 1987 Class 1A state championship team and a lower-level assistant coach on the Saints' 1994 Class 3A title team. He also was a lower-level assistant a few years ago for a state championship team in Grand Rapids, Mich.
This November journey is special in its own right. The city of St. Charles has never had a football team reach the state title game, so the community is understandably gaga over Saturday's 4 p.m. game against Nazareth Academy at Memorial Stadium.
St. Charles North entered the playoffs 6-3 and a No. 22 seed. Now the North Stars are a win away from standing on a podium and hoisting the biggest prize Illinois prep football can muster.
Flynn wants the players to feel what he felt at Hancock Stadium in November 1987. He can help them juggle the emotion and focus that entails.
"It's important to balance the feeling of pride that goes along with accomplishing the team's goal and being happy with what you've done, but still wanting to get one more ... being happy but not being satisfied," Flynn said. "Maybe in a few weeks you can reflect and say, "That was a great season.' "
Flynn has been taken back to his Central Catholic days during the St. Charles North run, which began with a 44-29 first-round win at Normal Community.
He has seen the North Stars develop the level of belief that was so common at Central in his time there. Flynn also played basketball for the Saints with Coach John Snyder's slogan of "Ya Gotta Believe" on the uniforms.
"That carried over to football," Flynn said. "Last week, we played (Chicago) Mount Carmel and our kids weren't intimidated by the name on the jersey. That doesn't always happen. I thought that was a huge reason we were able to pull that one out. I think our kids truly believe they can win every game."
St. Charles North beat Mount Carmel, 27-21, in double-overtime. The North Stars won behind dynamite Minnesota recruit Tyler Nubin, whose number Flynn calls often. The win also included a late block of a 26-yard field goal attempt to send the game to OT.
"Some things happened in that game that shouldn't have happened," said Flynn, pointing to the North Stars' belief. "When you get to a point where the culture is you believe and expect good things to happen and you kind of make your own luck, things seem to work out somehow, someway."
It happened in '87 for Central and Flynn, whose coaching career also includes a stint as sophomore basketball coach at Loyola Academy from 2004-09.
Among the players he coached were Jeffrey and Marcus Jordan, sons of Bulls legend Michael Jordan.
"He was terrific," Flynn said. "He didn't really insert himself at all. He let the coaches do their jobs. And they were terrific kids. It was a neat experience."
So is this ... the playoff run, the state championship game and, especially, the wife and three daughters.
Kickoff is a few days away. Flynn, it seems, has won already.