After 13 years coaching football for the Glen Ellyn Golden Eagles, Mike Dayton is ready to spend some time sitting on the sidelines.
Dayton started coaching the team when his oldest son, Tyler, was 5 years old. Today, Tyler is a senior.
“I was kind of hanging out when flag football started when he was 5 and they were looking for coaches and I just kind of raised my hand, and 13 years later, I’m still doing it,” he said. “I knew I wanted to be involved in my kids’ athletics.”
For the last 13 years, he’s been committed to coaching during the football season and helping run clinics in the off-season. His oldest son Tyler, is a senior at Glenbard West High School and his younger son, Jake, a student at Hadley Junior High School, will transition from playing youth football when he moves on to high school next fall.
The Golden Eagles is a competitive travel program, which helps players develop the fundamentals of tackle football while learning teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership, according to the website. Teams are based on age and weight. Dayton has coached the 8th grade 133 pound Silver Level, B league.
Dayton’s primary reason for coaching was that he wanted involved with his boys, but it evolved from there, he said.
“Watching them interact and being a role model for them are important and [teaching them] that there is a lot you can learn in sports,” he said. “One thing I loved about sports is the team interaction you have on the field. In other sports you can have one kid that dominates – in football you have to work as a group.”
When he was younger, Dayton played football in high school, but he said though he was a team player, he wasn’t a starter. That experience was important when it came to coaching.
“I wanted them to learn to have fun,” he said.
Now, with his kids moving on, he is going to pass on the torch. His wife Cindy will probably be happy he will have some extra time on his hands, he said.
When Dayton first became involved in coaching the Golden Eagles, the program was much smaller, with a lot fewer kids participating, he said. Like him, the other coaches in the program have a similar mindset and they work hard to find quality coaches who are in it to motivate the kids.
“I’ve seen the football program go from a smaller number of kids to a record number of kids, and that is a testament to what everyone is trying to do with the program.”
The Golden Eagles Super Bowl games will be played Nov. 10 and 11. Find out more about the games and the program.