By Anne Eickstadt

COURTESY PHOTO Belvidere Republican
“It’s not the X’s and the O’s, it’s the Jimmy’s and the Joe’s.” “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.” “Do something that matters – have fun.” “I miss football a little, but I miss putts a lot.” – Mike Hearn


Having grown up in McHenry County, attending Marengo Community High School, my knowledge of the Belvidere Bucs was only that they were a tough team for the Marengo Indians to face.

Happily, Dr. Robert Kopp took the time to let me know about Mike Hearn’s importance and this tremendous loss to the Belvidere community. This is the information he sent me:

“Richard ‘Mike’ Hearn, 65, of Belvidere passed away peacefully at home on Dec. 4. Born to Joe and Helen (Smitkamp) Hearn on July 24, 1953 in Oakland, Ill. He married the love of his life, Nancy Turner, on Aug. 3, 1990. Mike graduated from Oakland High School in 1971. He received his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1976 from EIU and his masters of Secondary Education in 1993 at NIU.

Mike was a well-known football coach at Belvidere High School, home of the Belvidere Bucs, for 36 years and coached one year in Villa Grove. As an assistant coach he helped lead the Bucs to two State championship titles in 1993 and 1994. In 1997 he became the head coach leading the Bucs to 10 consecutive winning seasons and 9 playoff appearances. He was also a two-time recipient of the Conference Coach of the Year award for the NIC-10.

He was a member of the Sig Pi Fraternity at EIU, the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, Illinois Driver Education Association. He was inducted into the IHSA Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Belvidere Bucs Football Hall of Fame in 2018. He was also a proud member of the Mel Brown League and Friday Morning Breakfast Club. Mike loved spending time with family. He enjoyed music, golf, and his swimming pool.

Mike will be loved and missed by his wife, Nancy; his children, Ali Hearn and Luke (Leslie) Hearn; brother, Bill (Pat) Hearn; sisters, Sharon (Joe) Hood and Di Hearn; sister-in-law’s, Teri Keegan and Julie Turner and many special nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews. Special thank you to all of his wonderful friends who helped him through this journey called life. Mike lived life to the fullest – it’s what he did best. No Regrets.

He is preceded in death by his parents; mother and father-in-law, Jim and Marilyn Turner; sister-in-law Lori Turner; and brother-in-law, Rock Keegan.

Memorial Service will be at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9, at the PAC at Belvidere High School, 1500 East Ave. with Rev. Dr. Robert Kopp officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to establish a scholarship in Mike’s honor.”

Memorial Service

Rev. Dr. Robert Kopp was the officiant performing the memorial service as well. Some of Mike’s favorite music was played, beginning with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by the Beatles. Patrick Anderson of Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services gave a welcome to the guests and announcements. Members of Mike Hearn’s family and friends made a few remarks and shared memories of Mike. Then Dr. Kopp began:

“Martin Luther said music is a gift from God to align our hearts with Him and each other. During many last moments together, Rock, Mike, and I often talked about the place of music in our lives.”

Dr. Kopp read Bible lessons from John 14, and 1 Corinthians 13.

“I don’t know anyone else in Belvidere and Boone County, Ill. or anyone else in any state or anyone else in the entire world who has a propane gas tank with Bucs purple and gold painted on it.

If anyone tries to tell me there is anyone on the face of the earth and in God’s Kingdom who was more loyal to the Bucs and epitomized the best of the Bucs and never shied away from telling you about one of the most proudly storied traditions in America than Mike Hearn, well, you know what I mean…

I don’t know if Mike came up with the mantra but he certainly inspired it and is the best example: “Once a Buc…” (weak response from guests, ‘Always a Buc.’)

Let’s run that play again: “Once a Buc…” (strong response, ‘Always a Buc!’)

Buc Pride.

Buc Tough.

Mike Hearn.

Yes, they are synonymous.

Many months ago, we sat in Starbucks together on an early morning.

Man to man, eyeball to eyeball, no blinking, and he said, “I’m going to beat this!”

And I said,…

For complete article, pick up the Dec. 13 Belvidere Republican.

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