Sandburg and Lincoln-Way Central are among the nine SouthWest Suburban Conference football teams that will merge with DuPage Valley Conference schools to form a new league. Photo by Jason Maholy

Sandburg and Lincoln-Way Central are among the nine SouthWest Suburban Conference football teams that will merge with DuPage Valley Conference schools to form a new league. Photo by Jason Maholy

Area Sports Roundup | SouthWest Suburban and DuPage Valley merging for football

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By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

Taking a page out of the Chicago Catholic League-East Suburban Catholic Conference playbook, the SouthWest Suburban Conference and DuPage Valley Conference are forming a football alliance that will begin play next season.

Lockport Township High School Superintendent Robert McBride confirmed the merger in a statement.

Nine of the 10 current members of the SWSC and all six members of the DVC will form a 15-team league — which has yet to be named — that will be split into three divisions. According to McBride, the divisions were determined based on “student enrollment and previous success.”

From the SWSC will be Sandburg, Stagg, Lincoln-Way East, Lincoln-Way West, Lincoln-Way Central, Homewood-Flossmoor, Lockport, Andrew and Bradley-Bourbonnais. Current conference member Bolingbrook had previously announced it was leaving after this season for the Suburban Prairie Conference.

 

Divisions
Red: Sandburg, Andrew, Lincoln-Way West, Metea Valley, Naperville Central
Green: Stagg, Lincoln-Way Central, DeKalb, Bradley-Bourbonnais, Waubonsie Valley
Blue: Lincoln-Way East, Homewood-Flossmoor, Lockport, Naperville North, Neuqua Valley

 

There is a possibility that the two leagues could looking into merging for other sports in the future, but for now, it’s a football-only plan.

The conference opened play in 2006 with charter members Sandburg, Stagg, Lincoln-Way Central, Homewood-Flossmoor, Andrew, Bradley-Bourbonnais, Lincoln-Way East, Bolingbrook and Lockport. Other schools that have competed in the league include Thornridge, Thornton, Thornwood, Joliet Central, Joliet West (as Joliet Township) and since-closed Lincoln-Way North.

 

Interim coach at Trinity
The area has two colleges in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference that will have interim women’s basketball coached for the 2023-2024 season.

Saint Xavier recently announced it was promoting former player Sidney Lovitsch from assistant to interim coach. Now, Trinity Christian College is following suit as Dominique Nelson will replace Theo Owens as the women’s coach at the Palos Heights private school, replacing Theo Owens.

Nelson, who has 18 years of coaching experience, is serving on an interim basis. She has been an assistant with the Trolls’ men’s program since last year.

For six seasons, Nelson led the boys basketball program at Calumet High School (Gary, Ind.), where he guided the Warriors to an IHSAA sectional title and four consecutive sectional championship games. In 2018, Nelson was named the Northwest Indiana Times Coach of the Year, as well as the Post-Tribune Coach of the Year.

In 2008, Nelson worked with the Chicago Sky of the WNBA as a basketball operations intern.

Joining Nelson on the bench for 2023-24 will be Keith Lyons and Casey Davis, who will serve as assistant coaches.

Lyons joins the Trolls after serving as the head varsity girls’ basketball coach at George Washington High School in Denver for the past seven years. He was named the 2021 Denver Public Schools Girls Coach of the Year. Prior to his time in Colorado, Lyons was a club basketball coach for various groups since 2001.

Davis comes to Trinity as a former player under Nelson. She played at Roosevelt from 2010-14, during which she was a three-time CCAC First Team selection and a two-time NAIA All-American.

The Trolls open the season on Nov. 3 at home against Dordt (Iowa), followed by Northwestern (Iowa) the next day.

 

Sports bits
• Brother Rice soccer coach Matt Prunckle won the 2023 Tony Lawless Award for the Chicago Catholic League Coach of the Year. That comes 20 years after he won the Lawless Award as a player for the Crusaders.

• Former Saint Xavier men’s basketball standout Jaeden King had 46 points and 12 rebounds in his professional debut for Snaefell, which plays in a league in Iceland.

• Former Queen of Peace and St. Laurence girls basketball coach George Shimko is now coaching the girls program at Joliet Catholic. He was named coach at Oak Park last summer, but left that school and has landed in Joliet.

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