When Joe Newton, York High School’s legendary cross-country coach, retires at the end of the season, the program is expected to continue its extraordinary path of excellence without a blip. That’s because Coach Charlie Kern will bring not only 12 years of experience coaching alongside Newton, but also his own lifelong knowledge and success in the sport.

The 87-year-old Newton coached for 61 years at York, leading the team to a total of 44 state trophies, including 28 state championships, a record for any Illinois high school in any sport. He made the decision to retire based in part on his confidence in Kern’s ability to continue the tradition.

Kern has been a fixture at York for the past 16 years and he knows the school and the athletic programs well. He is not only the head track coach in the spring, but teaches sociology, world history and philosophy as well.

Kern doesn’t take time off during the summer, choosing instead to continue his commitment by coaching two running camps. He runs the Nike College Prospect Cross Country Camp at Elmhurst College in June. He is also the director and founder of the Championship Training Academy in Elmhurst, which attracts around 400 kids each summer. Because Kern is the coach at York, those students cannot participate, giving Kern the opportunity to work with and inspire middle school students.

Kern grew up in upstate New York where he was a nine-time all-state runner in high school. He won the state championship in the 1600-meter run, and held the state high school record at his high school for 27 years. He attended the University of Kentucky where was earned All-SEC honors in track and cross country. In 2009, he traveled to Finland and he won the World Masters age group championship 1500 Meters in the 40-45 age group.

His wife, Lynne, is also a dedicated runner. In high school, she was the only two-time state medalist for Hinsdale Central. She was also a member of the cross country team at the University of Kentucky, and on the 1988 national championship winning team. She went on to coach cross country at Plainfield Central.

They have three children, two of whom are members of their father’s team: junior Charlie Kern Jr. and freshman Ethan. In his sophomore year, Kern Jr came in second at the state cross country meet, as a freshman he came in eighth place.

So far the season is off to a great start. The Dukes won the Sept. 8 Miller Meadow Meet by defeating host Oak Park-River Forest and Lyons Township in a one-two-three punch. Charlie Kern Jr came in first, one second ahead of junior Sean MacGregor, with junior Jackson Bode coming in only 20 seconds later.

Cheering on the many Elmhurst sports teams is one of many reasons that our city is such a great place to live. To find out more about buying or selling a home, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit us at www.gmregroup.com.