Fred Rakers, the Hall of Fame coach who built Mater Dei High School into one of the state’s top volleyball programs, died Wednesday afternoon after battling cancer for several months.
Rakers was 68 and his cancer was diagnosed in August. He is survived by his wife, Rosie, and children Chad Rakers, Jennifer Calloway and Erin Crawford.
Funeral services are still pending, but will be held at the Mater Dei High School Gym.
The former National High School Volleyball Coach of the Year guided the Knights to six state championships and a career record of 1,046 wins, 200 losses and seven ties. The win total is the second-highest in Illinois history.
The Knights won state titles in 1987, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2001 and 2010 under Rakers, adding another in 2011 under his son, Chad Rakers, with Fred Rakers at his side as an assistant.