Former Gordon star Tom Kleinschmidt has returned to Gordon as the school’s new head varsity basketball coach.
“Going back to Gordon as coach was a dream of mine,” Kleinschmidt admittted after accepting a job as coach and gym teacher.
“I didn’t hire Tom Kleinschmidt for his athletic accomplishments,” Gordon Athletic Director Paul Chabura said. “It was an intriguing idea to us to hire him as coach. It brings us credibility hiring a coach who was a professional athlete, college and high school star. He’s going to be a tremendous coach.”
“He’s got the tools to be a successful coach,” former Gordon coach Shay Boyle said on Gordon’s decision to hire Kleinschmidt. “His name is going get him into a lot of doors. Tom was a childhood hero of mine. I looked up to him as a role model. Tom was the most supportive alum I met during my four years at Gordon.”
Boyle is now the admissions director at Notre Dame High School in Niles.
Kleinschmidt certainly might have been in the running for a Coach-of-the-Year award after guiding York to a 22-9 record this past season. The Dukes won 13-straight games before losing to Lake Park in the regional championship game.
Kleinschmidt will miss the players at York.
“I loved coaching at York,” Kleinschmidt stated on his one year stint in the Elmhurst school. “The kids were great. It was very difficult to leave the kids. It’s great to be back at Gordon.”
- Kleinschmidt always wanted to become a high school or college basketball coach after his playing days.
- Kleinschmidt was one of the state’s best players during his high school career at Gordon.
- Kleinschmidt played at De Paul and scored 1,837 points after being Gordon’s all-time leading scorer.
- Kleinschmidt earned a scholarship to De Paul after a stellar three-year prep career with the Rams.
- Kleinschmidt led Gordon the 1990 Class AA championship where the Rams were beaten by King(32-0) 65-55.
Hopes were high for the 1990-91 season at Gordon after the loss to King. The Rams were 19-2 after beating Loyola 91-82, but Kleinschmidt broke his foot after making a three-point shot at Gordon.
Now, could the Rams like the Chicago Bulls carry on without their star? Gordon lost 79-67 in the sectional championship game at Niles West.
“We had a ton of talent,” admitted Kleinschmidt who was disappointed when his season and high school career ended on an injury. “I still thought we could make a nice run (in the playoffs).”
Kleinschmidt was a standout at De Paul before playing pro basketball in Italy, Venezuela, and Japan. Kleinschmidt made a name for himself in the Japan Basketball League.
One of Kleinschmidt’s other dreams was to play in the NBA, but he was cut by the Seattle Supersonics.
“I have no regrets,” Kleinschmidt said.
Now, Kleinschmidt will focus on trying to help Gordon end a 31-game losing streak in Catholic League play. The Rams did well in the postseason winning three regional titles in four years under Boyle.
“I welcome the challenge of coaching in the Catholic League,” said Kleinschmidt. “It’s a league with great teams, athletes, and coaches. It’s the best league in the state in my opinion.”
Gordon (14-15) will return three starters and two key reserves from a squad that lost to Rockford Lutheran in the Class 2A sectional championship.
Kleinschmidt will make his return to Gordon during the school’s Thanksgiving tournament in November.