Evanston girls basketball head coach Elliot Whitefield resigned Thursday following the most successful five-year run in the history of the program.
The Wildkits posted a won-loss record of 110-44 over the past 5 seasons, a 71 percent winning percentage, including a 25-6 mark in Whitefield’s final season. Evanston captured the Central Suburban League South division championship in 2012-13 and also claimed a sectional championship and four regional crowns during Whitefield’s tenure.
In his letter of resignation, Whitefield cited communication problems because he didn’t teach at the high school. He is employed as a special education teacher at a therapeutic school located in Mount Prospect.
“I walk away knowing that I gave my heart and soul to the players, while achieving a level of success that has never been matched over a five year span,” Whitefield said. “I can only imagine what we would have accomplished if I had the benefit of seeing my players throughout the (school) day. It’s apparent that teaching in the building is not going to happen.
“I have coached so many great young ladies and those are the ones who have made it so rewarding. Many of my past players have gone on to earn college degrees and a number of them played or are currently playing college basketball.
“I would like to thank those who have supported me at ETHS, especially Coach Steve Wool, Coach Sunny Brewer, Coach Carlton Rosemond and Coach Karis Stone. I also want to thank (Athletic Director) Chris Livatino for his support and Mike Burzawa, Dennis Mahoney, Clarinda Harbison, Ann Carra, and Pat Edwards for everything they did to make my job easier. While looking forward to leading another program on to success, I will always hold many of the relationships from ETHS close to my heart.”
Whitefield was named “Coach of the Year” in the district three times by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and Livatino said the school will begin an immediate search to find a replacement.
“Coach Whitefield did give his heart and soul to our kids and made a big impact on their lives,” Livatino said. “I enjoyed getting to know him personally and professionally, and I learned a lot from having him as our head coach. I wish him every success in his future endeavors. His next school will be very fortunate to have him. I thank him for all of his time, effort and sacrifice on behalf of Evanston girls basketball.”
Whitefield’s successor will inherit a team that will rank among the favorites to contend for the Illinois High School Association state title next winter. All five starters are returning led by Leighah-Amori Wool, who with her next basket or free throw will become the all-time leading scorer at ETHS.
Wool, a three-year starter, has amassed 909 points to date, the identical amount of points that Danielle McKinley scored in a Wildkit uniform from 1997-2000. Wool is also the career leader in 3-point field goals at ETHS with 105.