Patrick Dunne ’98 said he set out to instill two main components in the Marist football program: hard work and a constant positive environment
“I was humbled and grateful for the opportunity that Larry [Tucker] and Brother Pat [McNamara] provided me,” Dunne said. “To have the opportunity to work with the best kids from such strong families and at the most premier school in the city of Chicago inspired me every day.”
Others might say Dunne took over a struggling program, but he disputes that. “Marist had and will always have the best kids,” he explained. “We were blessed with the best group of coaches, too—many of whom were Marist alumni—great men who were great role models and great coaches.” Dunne said they immediately set out to implement a new culture, one of hard work and a constant positive environment. “We believed that by sticking to these two principles in everything we did, along with the players already within the program, we would put ourselves in a more favorable position to accomplish our goals both on and off the field.”
And that they did. Dunne says the turnaround did not come in a big game or season. Instead, he credits the team’s 5:30am strength and conditioning workouts. “Many Friday nights were won in those early morning winter/spring workouts,” he explained.
The hard work paid off. Dunne served as the program’s head coach for nine seasons, posting a 71-31 (.696) record while guiding the RedHawks to eight state playoff appearances. Under his leadership, Marist made four quarterfinal and three semifinal appearances and finished as state runner-up in both 2009 and 2015. On three occasions, Dunne helped Marist to at least a share of the East Suburban Catholic Conference (ESCC) title and he was named the conference's coach of the year in 2011 and 2016.
"Coach Dunne helped resurrect the program during his tenure," said Marist principal Larry Tucker ’79. "He set the bar high by developing quality young men with character, work ethic, and faith."
Looking back, Dunne says there are countless special memories from his tenure, but especially recalls the resilience of the 2008 team and how they embodied the “never give up” attitude of their teammate, the late Jack Callahan ’09. “In the second round of the playoffs versus Naperville North we had faced adversity throughout the entire game,” Dunne said. “When most people had left the stadium with three minutes to go and us down by 13 points, this team never quit and won the game in overtime. This team's belief impacted the program for years to come and gave our future teams an advantage in knowing that they could win any game.”
Dunne left Marist in 2017 to pursue a new career with Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services. He and his wife, Mandy, live in Palos Heights with their three daughters.