9 Kennedy Cups, 2 state titles, 1 state runner-up finish, and 500 wins. Not bad if you are talking about the accomplishments of a high school hockey program. How about if you are talking about the accomplishments of one man? St. Rita Hockey coach, Craig Ferguson notched his 500th career victory on Saturday morning with a 3-0 victory over Glenbrook South. This is just another milestone in what has been an illustrious career.
“Winning 500 games just means that I've coached for a long time,” stated Ferguson. “I've had the opportunity to coach at two great schools and have been fortunate enough to coach some great teams and players.”
Ferguson has been a head coach for 15 years, the first six coming at Mt. Carmel High School while the last nine years he has coached the Mustangs of St. Rita. Ferguson has had a wealth of success at both institutions garnering 4 Kennedy Cups at Mt. Carmel and 5 while at St. Rita. Ferguson has advanced his team to 3 state title games the first being a runner-up finish in 1998 while the last two came in the red and blue as he led the Mustangs to championships in 2010 and 2012. This cemented his legacy in Illinois Hockey forever.
“We are lucky to have Craig at St Rita and it is truly amazing what he has accomplished here and during his high school coaching career,” St. Rita Athletic Director, Mike Zunica commented. “He is a true coaching legend and will always be remembered as one of the best high school hockey coaches ever.”
Despite bringing the St. Rita program to its pinnacle, winning the state championship last year and having one of the top teams in the state again this year, Ferguson has decided to retire from hockey following this season but will remain at St. Rita as the Director of Admissions. Ferguson is known publicly for his hockey prowess but inside the halls of St. Rita he is known for the work he does for the young men.
“Craig's 500th win signifies his special place in the pantheon of Illinois coaches, in hockey and all sports,” St. Rita Principal, Brendan Conroy stated. “But his legacy extends well beyond the ice to the way he has shaped countless young men through his dedication to Catholic education and his instilling the values of St. Rita High School through his coaching. We could not be more proud of Craig at this historic moment.”
While Ferguson’s coaching days are slowly coming to an end, he will be leaving the St. Rita program in great hands as Brian Coleman St. Rita class of 1999 will be taking over. Coleman has been alongside Ferguson for years and gives the credit of his success to Coleman and the other assistants he has had over his career. “I've had the opportunity to work with great assistant coaches both at Mt. Carmel and St. Rita,” Ferguson stated. “They deserve a lot of credit for the success we've had, and I look forward to watching St. Rita hockey grow in the future.
Coach Ferguson and the St. Rita Mustangs eye their second consecutive state title, which
would be the final stamp on an unforgettable career.