Behind the Scenes

Jeri Brockett retires from the athletic office after more than 2 decades at MCHS


Jeri Brockett is retiring after working more than two decades as an administrative assistant in the MCHS athletic department.

The Minooka girls cross country team had just won the state championship in 2015. It was late at night on a Saturday, and Jeri Brockett was back at the school.

She was helping organize a special event for when the team arrived home. She was preparing cookies and drinks and folding the program she had helped design. The girls would have a chance to celebrate their special day, in part, because of her work.

Jeri Brockett, administrative assistant in the MCHS athletic office, will be retiring at the end of this year. Brockett has had a huge impact on MCHS sports over the course of her long career and is well respected by her coworkers.


Working Hard

For one thing, she is known to be a hard worker.

Throughout her long career at MCHS, which began in 2000, Brockett has done many different things for Minooka sports, such as announcing, selling tickets, and organizing events such as Senior Night.

“There’s rarely a time J.B. has a break during the school day,” former head boys basketball coach Kevin Cain said. “Each time I’m in the office she is working on preparations for the next awards night, signing night, preseason tryout, transportation schedule, or orders for our athletic department to operate smoothly.”

And it hasn’t always been an easy job. When Brockett first came to MCHS, she was faced with the challenge of having to learn several new computer programs. 

“It was the transition to computers,” Brockett said. “At my old job we had a lot of back and forth faxing, and a lot of paper. Coming here, we had our Macs and we were learning computers. I had to learn all the software that we used at the time.”

While Brockett is looking forward to her retirement from MCHS, she still wants to continue working.

“A year ago I tried learning coding, and it was just too much with work. But I was enjoying that, so if I could find a web-based position I would love doing the work from home, or going to some place,” Brockett said. “I’m not looking to be a stay-at-home retiree; I will have to find something to do.”


Finding Success

In the time that Brockett has been at MCHS, the athletic department has had a lot of success.

Prior to Brockett’s arrival in 2000, Minooka had only two IHSA state athletic trophies to its name. During Brockett’s tenure, however, the Indians have brought home 24 more trophies.

Former Minooka boys wrestling head coach Bernie Ruettiger was a childhood friend of Brockett’s. She said after she saw he had been hired at MCHS, she wanted to work there, too.  Ruettiger had amazing success in his MCHS coaching career – nearly all which involved Brockett working in the athletic office. He finished with an overall record of 325-82 and ended up winning a state championship, in addition to finishing second at state twice. He talked about Brockett’s effect on athletics.

“She had a very positive impact. She was always on the ball, she had everything completed before we even needed it, and made things easy for us coaches,” Ruettiger said. “I’ve known Jeri since kindergarten, we went to grade school together. I’ve known her family for my whole life, and she’s a wonderful person.” 


Giving Thanks

Brockett is grateful for her experiences at MCHS. When asked what she loves most about Minooka, her answer was, of course, the staff.

“I’ve been fortunate here because there’s been a lot of people here that have the kindest of hearts,” she said.

Brockett herself has often been described as kind and helpful, but she is always quick to deflect this praise towards her coworkers. 

“Well, I think it’s just a reflection of everybody here,” she said. “If somebody treats you badly, you would probably want to treat them the same way. But everybody here has been very kind over the years.”

More specifically, Brockett has nothing but high praise for MCHS athletic director Bob Tyrell, who will also be retiring at the end of this year.  The two have worked together in the athletic office for nearly two decades. 

“She was here a couple years in the athletic office before I started, so she was the first person I contacted when I got hired,” Tyrell said. “She’s been a pillar of our office. So many things in our office she has spearheaded. … Great person. Great with people. Great with technology. She’s the best, and one of the keys to our success. I can’t say enough about her and all she’s done for MCHS. She’s been a tremendous, tremendous asset to Minooka High School.”


Helping the Kids

Brockett’s focus has always been on the kids — those athletes that she has served for all these years. 

She lists one of her favorite memories as watching students enjoy the new turf field at the stadium when it was first being used. 

“When I was at a lacrosse game, the kids were so excited to be there, and I went on the sideline, and they were all so happy. It felt so good to be there,” said Brockett. 

When asked what sport she would add to Minooka if given the chance, she didn’t have an answer of her own.

“That’s a good question for you guys,” Brockett said. “I really thought lacrosse would be a little overwhelming with adding more sports, but it’s really been nice seeing all these kids get involved. … So it would really be what you guys want.”

Additionally, Brockett developed a special connection with Courtney Johnston, an all-state bowler who graduated from MCHS in 2012.  Johnston has since been named the head girls bowling coach at Bradley-Bourbonnais Central High School.

“Mrs. Brockett is a wonderful person, and when I met her my junior year of high school, it changed my life,” said Johnston. “I walked into the athletic office that year to turn in my physical for the year, and when I dropped it off we got talking, and once we started we didn’t want to stop. She was a person that I could go and talk to and tell her anything whether it was about life or it was about the (bowling) season.” 

Overall, Jeri Brockett has been a tremendous help to MCHS athletics. She has impacted the lives of many people over the years, and her kind, positive attitude has left a lasting impression on kids and coworkers alike. 

“She will truly be missed,” head football coach Matt Harding said. “Jeri Brockett bleeds orange and black!”