Badke. That's B-A-D-K-E.
The name is a familiar one in Catholic League coaching circles.
Brian Badke, named as Brother Rice’s new football coach in May, is following in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather.
George Badke once was the head football coach at Fenwick and served as the offensive coordinator at St. Laurence when the Vikings won three Prep Bowls in the 1970s. The late-Bernard Badke was a head basketball coach at St. Rita in the 1950s.
“I’m a third-generation coach,” Brian Badke said. “My hope is that I’ll be half the coach that my father and grandfather were. Both were pretty successful.”
Badke joins the Brother Rice staff in a full-time capacity on July 1 as the Crusaders’ major gift officer and head football coach. He knows his way around the building and the Catholic League, too.
He played high school football at Brother Rice and continued his career at the University of St. Francis. More recently, he coached under Mike Feminis during last fall.
Badke coached the Cougars’ defensive backs and special teams.
“We won some games at Saint Xavier with our special teams play,” he said. “It’s an important part of the game. I hope we can do the same at Brother Rice.”
Badke’s coaching philosophy is a result of his upbringing and his surroundings: He believes in teamwork, discipline and dedication—core values instilled in him by legends such as former Brother Rice coach Tom Mitchell and former USF coach Gordie Gillespie, say nothing of his father and grandfather.
“I played for great coaches and teachers and I want to share what I’ve learned with my kids at Brother Rice,” Badke said.
What's in the Crusader Cupboard?
He inherits a Crusaders team that posted an 8-5 record under Steve Nye and reached the second round of the Class 8A playoffs. Brother Rice was ousted by Downers Grove South (41-14).
Six Crusader all-conference picks have departed, including do-it-all free safety/wide receiver/punter/punt return man Dan Lyons and the two-headed backfield monster of Martez Walker and Andrew Walker.
Martez Walker, a Central Michigan University recruit and record-setting running back, was named co-Offensive Player of the Year in the Catholic League Blue.
“I was joking around with Martez and I said, ‘Are you sure you don’t have another year of eligibility left?’ ” Badke said.
Nye was the Crusaders’ head football coach for 13 years and spent 24 years coaching at Brother Rice.
“He built a good program,” Badke said. “I don’t think the word rebuilding is part of my vocabulary. I would say restructuring. Some guys you can’t replace—like the Walkers. As far as getting them the ball, they used them well.
“So, we’re losing some outstanding seniors. But we’ll look for others to step up. If a couple of things fall in place, I think we’ll be OK.”
Brother Rice opens on Aug. 24 at home against Shepard.
Badke isn’t going to wait until the dog days of summer to kick off a new era of Crusader football. In fact, he already has hit the streets running.
He has organized volunteer weightlifting and conditioning programs for returning Brother Rice players. He will be running a fundamentals camp for fourth- through eighth-graders June 11-15. Former Providence Catholic standout and current NFL offensive lineman free agent Eric Steinbach will serve as a special guest coach at the camp.
And, in July, Badke will direct the Crusaders’ annual 7-on-7 activities.
“I’m not going to try and reinvent the wheel,” he said. “I hope to surround myself with good people and good coaches that care about the kids. We’re going to run the program the same way at every level.”
Badke’s job will require him to tug on the head coaching reins for the first time.
“When you’re a position coach, you only have to worry about a certain group of people,” Badke said. “Or, if you’re a coordinator, you focus on one side of the ball.
“But as far as being the head coach—running the entire program—it’s something I’m looking forward to as a new challenge. I need to get my staff in place and established so we’re all on the same page.”