Lane Tech’s Athletic Director Nick LoGalbo holding the basketball his players signed and presented him with to honor his 150 wins as coach. Credit: alex v. hernandez/block club chicago

NORTH CENTER — After bringing home 150 wins, Lane Tech basketball coach Nick LoGalbo was honored by his basketball team in a surprise ceremony earlier this month.

It’s the second-most wins on record in the CPS high school’s 112-year history, Lane Tech officials said.

LoGalbo, who doubles as the school’s athletic director, has a standard routine before each game’s tip-off. First, players line up for the national anthem. Then, he has a quick check-in to make sure the team’s ready for the game. 

But LoGalbo’s pre-game routine was interrupted before the team was set to take on Walter Payton on Jan. 8. An assistant coach tapped LoGalbo on the shoulder, telling him he was need at the scoring table.

“It was a big conference game with a big crowd and I was already in my usual routine,” LoGalbo said. “When he told me to go to the front I asked, ‘Why?’ I hadn’t done that before a game, ever.”

When he walked over, LoGalbo noticed the school’s administration seated at the scoring table instead. Assistant Athletic Director Jane Milsap was smiling as LoGalbo walked up to the table. 

“The PA announcer called my name and I was like, ‘Oh boy, what’s going on here,’” he said.

LoGalbo was celebrated for his 150 wins he’s brought home since 2005. LoGalbo’s record is only second to former coach Ray Umbright, who coached from 1919-1954.

The wins aren’t why he coaches, LoGalbo said.

“I’ve never really had any idea how many wins or losses I’ve accrued as a coach. It’s not about me. It’s about our boys and our program and trying to maximize our potential each season,” he said. “But it was a pretty cool surprise that so many other people behind the scenes did their research and found this out.”

LoGalbo, who teaches English as Lane when he’s not coaching, is also an alumnus of the school.

When LoGalbo first entered the massive high school at 2501 W. Addison St. as a 14-year-old freshman in the late ’90s, he was scared, he remembered. At that point, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life.

But he credits Lane’s teachers and its strong sense of community with giving him the foundation to figure out who he wanted to be. 

“Lane is so big that you’d think you’d get kind of lost in the shuffle,” he said. “But what makes this place so special is its culture of loyalty and strong sense of community.”

After graduating from Lane in 2001 and studying English at Benedictine University, LoGalbo returned to Lane in 2005, initially as a student teacher in the English department and head freshman coach.

He still teaches English at Lane and during the 2017-2018 school year also became its athletic director. 

“I played basketball here and I met my wife when we were both students here. She’s my soulmate and best friend,” LoGalbo said.

LoGalbo and his wife didn’t date in high school, but later in life they reconnected through mutual friends. The are now expecting their third child.

LoGalbo hopes his kids one day attend Lane, too. 

“This place has given more to me than I can ever give to it,” LoGalbo said. “This place is is extremely special to me. It’s kind of an ongoing joke with my family that it’s like my second home.”

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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park reporterrnrnalex@blockclubchi.orgnnLincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park Twitter @avhndz