Mike Lalor Biography
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Mike Lalor began his teaching career at Stillman Valley High School in the fall of '94. After 4 years as an Assistant Coach, Mike was named head coach of the Stillman Valley Varsity Football Program. During his first season, he guided the Stillman Valley Cardinals to the Class 2A Semi Finals in Illinois. This team had an overall record of 11-2. Flash foward to the 20013 season, Mike helped guild the Stillman Valley Cardinals to their 5th State Title in his 21 years as Head Coach. Mike was most recently voted into the Illinois High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
In 1999, at the age of 27, he helped Stillman Valley capture its first Class 2A State Title over Macon-Meridian by a score of 28-0 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. During the 2000 season, Stillman Valley repeated as Class 2A State Champions with an undefeated record, and by beating Tolono Unity by a score 35-14. In 2001, the Cardinals moved up a Division to Class 3A, and again reached the State Semi Finals, losing to the eventual State Champions Spring Valley Hall in a heartbreaking loss. 2002 was a rebuilding year for the Stillman Valley Cardinals, however they managed to end the season with a 7-4 record. The following season, the 2003 Stillman Valley Cardinals captured the Class 3A State Championship trophy by beating the Wilmington Wildcats by a score of 21-7. In 2004, the Cardinals lost in the 2nd round of the Playoffs to the eventual State Champions, the Addison Driscoll Highlanders. The Cardinals moved up yet another Division to Class 4A, and ended the season with a playoff berth, and a 7-3 overall record. In 2005 and 2006 the Cardinals again qualified for the playoffs but did miss the playoffs for the only time in 15 years in 2007. They rebounded in 2008 with a 8-1 regular season record and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. As mentioned before the Cardinals finished the 2009 season as the Class 3A State Champions with a perfect 14-0 record and this 2010 season as the class 3A runner-up with a 13-1 record losing a heartbreaker in the State finals. After winning the conference in 2011 the Cardinals moved up a division to 4A and still managed to advance to the state semi-finals losing the a great Richmond-Burton program. In 2012 the Cardinals qualified for the 4A playoffs and fell in the second round to eventual State Runner-up Rock Island Alleman. In 2013 the team captured its 5th state title in dramatic fashion with a 2 pt win in overtime versus a finely coached St. Joseph-Ogden team. In 2018 the Cardinals got back into the playoffs and advanced to the second round.
During his years as Head Coach of Stillman Valley, the Cardinals have won the Big Northern Conference Title 9 out of 18 years. Coach Lalor has compiled an overall record of 165-48. Mike has spoken on the various topics included in the set of DVDs numerous times at Coaches Football Clinics across the state of Illinois and Wisconsin.
In the fall of 2013, Mike was voted the Illinois Coach of the Year by the USA today in a internet voting contest. He narrowly missed out on being named National Coach of the year by a few thousand votes.
Mike and his wife Heather attempt to do a great deal of charity work in their community and local area. This includes starting a non for profit group called Stillman Valley Gives Back which provides therapy equipment for children that are challenged. This was inspired by their own son Logan who has overcome many challenges himself.
The following articles document this story.
Due to the dedication of his athletes, and the coaches in the program, Stillman Valley has enjoyed a long road of victories and Championship seasons.