BLOOMINGTON — Mike Moews confirmed Thursday he has stepped down after five years as Central Catholic High School football coach.
“I did resign,” Moews said. “I guess at the end of the day it was a difference of opinion, and they wanted to go in a different direction.”
Moews had a 39-14 record at Central Catholic with playoff appearances each year. The Saints were 9-2 and shared the Illini Prairie Conference championship in 2017.
"Mike met with myself and (principal) Sean Foster yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon and informed us he is resigning," Central Catholic athletic director Hud Venerable said. "All this just came up this week really. He had expressed some frustration over summer participation numbers."
When asked if he had requested Moews’ resignation, Venerable declined to specify.
While Moews admitted the Saints’ numbers were down “like all football programs have been,” he maintained “that wasn’t a determining factor in anything.”
Moews called leaving a program he had been associated with for 30-plus years “tough. My thoughts are with the players. I did it for them. That’s why I kept doing it. I can’t thank them enough for all their hard work. We had success in my years as head coach, and that’s directly attributed to them.
“The players and families have been tremendous. And I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my assistant coaches. They put in a lot of time. It really showed week in and week out.”
Moews previously served on the Central Catholic football staff as an assistant to his brother, Bobby Moews, who led the Saints program from 1992-2012.
"Mike had a tremendous career as a player, assistant coach, coordinator and head coach at Central Catholic," said Venerable. "He was a major reason this program was so successful. We thank him for the many lives he helped improve. He helped a lot of kids be successful. That will be hard to replace."
"We appreciate the hard work and many years of service Coach Mike gave Central Catholic and our football program," Foster said in a statement released by the school.
Venerable faces a tight timeline to bring stability to the Central Catholic program. The first practice is set for Aug. 6, with the season opener Aug. 24.
"We'll do the best we can and move forward and get started on the direction we need to go,” Venerable said. “We’re going to start to identify some candidates who would be interested in the position.
"We’re trying to schedule interviews over the next three or four days. We would really like to have somebody in place by Monday. It’s going to be a busy weekend.”
If a hiring is made by Monday, Venerable said the new Saints coach would have a week to work with his team before an Illinois High School Association mandated dead period of no contact between coaches and players begins July 29.
Venerable, who coached Normal Community from 1994-2007 and won a state championship in 2006, insisted he is not a candidate to lead the Central Catholic program even on an interim basis.
“Definitely not,” he said. “We’re looking for somebody still active in coaching.”
Former Peoria Notre Dame and Bloomington coach Joe Walters is a Saints’ assistant coach in both football and basketball for the coming school year.
Venerable declined to comment on the possibility of Walters taking the head coaching reins.
Moews’ departure means four of the five Intercity football programs will have new head coaches this fall.
Jason Drengwitz begins his first season at Normal Community, with Nathan Finchum the new man in charge at Normal West and Scott Godfrey taking over at Bloomington.