Montini Catholic congratulates Head Varsity Football Coach, Mike Bukovsky '83, for earning Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association's (IWCOA) Lifetime Service Award for 2020. Bukovsky received the award on Sunday, September 19th at the association's 49th Annual Lifetime Service Awards and Hall of Fame Banquet.
Bukovsky started his wrestling career at Eisenhower Jr. High School in Darien where he wrestled for Hall of Famer, Joe Pedersen. He moved on to Montini Catholic and continued his wrestling career under another Hall of Famer, Jim Izzo '83. Bukovsky was a three-year varsity starter, a two-time conference champion and was also voted Most Valuable Wrestler and Team Captain his senior year. He also played football for Coach Chris Andriano and was a member of Montini's first ever state playoff qualifying football teams in 1981 and 1982. He earned All Conference, All Area, and Honorable Mention All-State recognition.
When an injury ended his college wrestling career after two years at North Central College, Bukovsky started helping out with the wrestling team at Montini and began his coaching career in 1985. After nine years as the sophomore coach, he assumed the reins of the Wrestling program in 1995, a position he held for 16 years, until 2010. Collectively, he coached Wrestling for 25 years at Montini.
While serving as the Head Bronco Wrestling Coach at Montini, Bukovsky's teams won 460 dual meets while losing only 39, a career 92% winning mark. His teams won 15 IHSA Regional Championships, and qualified for the Dual Team State Tournament 13 times. His teams won 11 Dual Team State Trophies, including 8 IHSA Dual Team State Championships. Individually, Bukovsky produced 140 state qualifiers, 81 state place winners and 32 IHSA Individual State Champions. He has also coached 3 IHSA Individual four-time State Champions. Several of his teams were nationally ranked, including the 2007 team, ranked 5th in the Nation by Amateur Wrestling News Magazine. Bukovsky was recognized three times as IWCOA "Coach of the Year" (1998, 2002, 2008), and was selected as the National High School Athletics Association "National Coach of the Year," in 2009. He was inducted into the IWCOA Hall of Fame in 2008, received the IWCOA "Man of the Year" award in 2010, and served as the Grand Marshall at the 2017 IHSA State Wrestling Finals.
Bukovsky has been a member of the IWCOA Executive Board since 1999, serving as the chairman of the Classic Dual Committee and emcee of the All State Banquet, among various other duties. He served as the IWCOA President in 2008 and 2009, and has been a member of the IWCOA Hall of Fame selection committee since 2008. Bukovsky has also promoted wrestling by working as a color analyst and broadcaster for the IHSA and IKWF State Finals and numerous other wrestling events over the years.
Bukovsky is currently Montini's Head Football Coach and has just begun his 32nd season coaching the program. He has played a vital role in the success of Montini's 6 State Championship Teams (and 3 Runner Up Teams). He also coached the Bronco girls Softball Team for 9 years and in his 6 years as Head Coach, his teams won 2 State Championships. Coaching three sports at Montini, Wrestling, Football and Softball, Coach Bukovsky has been a part of a total of 16 Bronco State Championship Teams.
(In addition to his coaching position, Bukovsky, pictured above with wife, Deborah Utley, also serves as Montini Catholic's Admissions Director.)