Guido Regelbrugge was and continues to be a legend. Mr. R, as he was affectionately known, was the father of soccer at North, a dedicated French teacher and inspirational leader. He was born in 1938 in Ecklo, Belgium. He completed his undergraduate degree there and served two years in the Belgian Air Force. He was always an avid and excellent soccer player, and played on a variety of teams, including a national team in Belgium. He immigrated to the United States in 1960 and taught himself English by watching television. He was the first French teacher at North when the doors opened in 1969. Guido started the North boys soccer team in 1980 and coached through 1995. He compiled an impressive record of 197 wins, 63 losses and 34 ties. He started the girls program in 1984 which he also coached through 1995. His record for the girls was 162 wins, 27 losses and 7 ties. Between the two programs, he won 22 league titles, six district championships and two regional championships. He also went to the final four twice.
In the fall of 1995, I was a senior at the University of Michigan and looking for a place to student teach French and English. I had met many wonderful Grosse Pointers in Ann Arbor and asked my friends where I should head. Without hesitation, they said if I wanted to learn from the best, I should call Mr. R. And from the moment I first met him, the trajectory of my life was forever changed. I was in awe of Mr. R and worked hard to learn everything I could from him as a teacher, coach and leader. He became a mentor, dear friend and my Michigan dad. Guido had six sons, and I used to tease him that I was his only daughter! At the end of my student teaching, he again changed the direction of my life. As a Chicagoan, I had every intention of returning to my hometown upon graduation, but Mr. R asked me to stay at North. I said yes, and I’ve been here ever since. During my fifteen years of teaching here, I called on all the lessons Guido taught me. And now as North’s principal, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t call on his strength, wisdom and dedication. There is no doubt, that I am where I am today because of Mr. R.
Guido was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1993 and doctors gave him six months to a year to live. In true stubborn Guido fashion, he proved them all wrong and lived for twelve more years! We lost this amazing man all too early on January 30, 2005. But I have no doubt that his legacy lives on. His passion, commitment and strength lives in each Norsemen, particularly our North soccer players. I hope when our players need a little extra strength, they look up at Mr. R’s name on the scoreboard and remember they come from a long line of strong, dedicated fighters.
Dr. Kathryn C. Murray