Luke Mertens becomes first Saint Patrick HS alum to head the school’s football team
by BRIAN NADIG
Saint Patrick High School alum Luke Mertens has been named the school’s the new head football coach, replacing Adam Guerra, who will continue in his role as dean of students.
Mertens, who graduated in 1994 from the all-boys Catholic high school, is the first alum to head the school’s football team, which plays home games at the new Dunning stadium at 4139 N. Oak Park Ave.
“Today is a special day for Saint Patrick High School,” said Saint Patrick president Dan Santucci ’02. “First, allow me to take this opportunity to thank Coach Adam Guerra for his five years of service and dedication to our football program. The Shamrock community is incredibly proud of his team’s accomplishments, including the history-making playoff run this season.”
The team finished 4-0 in its conference (7-5 overall) and defeated Sterling and Rochelle in the state playoffs before losing to Sycamore.
Santucci added,, “Moving forward it is imperative that the head of our football program be dedicated to the growth of our program, focused on player development, and promote a winning mindset in all that we do. At the end of the day, our primary role is to help our boys become successful young men.”
Mertens becomes the 11th head football coach in the school’s 161-year history. He brings 19 years of coaching experience at the high school level, serving as an assistant at St. Pat’s and St. Rita, before moving onto head coach at Lakes and Lake Zurich.
As head coach, his teams won six conference championships, earned 11 state playoff appearances and a state runner-up finish in 2017. During that time, Mertens also helped guide over 100 players to continue their playing careers at the collegiate level, 18 All-State selections, four National Merit Scholar Finalists, 40 Illinois State Scholars, 39 Academic All-State Selections and countless All-Conference recognitions.
Mertens resigned as the head coach at Lake Zurich in 2019, taking a break from coaching.
“Since stepping away, I am constantly asked if I ever plan to coach again. My response is always the same – only if I find the perfect fit. I have found the perfect fit in Saint Patrick High School and its new leadership team,” said Mertens, who will address the team this afternoon. “I am humbled and honored to be entrusted with carrying on the proud tradition of my alma mater and instilling ‘Shamrock Pride’ in the young men on the Northwest Side of Chicago.”
“Personally, I was fortunate to benefit from Coach Mertens’ leadership, passion and positive energy during my time as a player at Saint Patrick,” Santucci said. “I know he embodies the skills and mentality necessary to win championships at St. Pat’s. His success as a player and coach at the high school level speaks for itself but beyond this, he is a man of character and is passionate about developing the overall person which falls directly in line with my vision for our great school.”