I had a chance recently to catch up with Nazareth Academy head coach Tim Racki, who led Driscoll Catholic to four straight state football titles from 2001 through 2004 (Driscoll Catholic actually won seven straight titles from 2001 through 2007) about his current position as head coach for the Road Runners along with talking about the closing of Driscoll Catholic back in 2009.
[EDGYTIM.com: Racki interview Part I]
EDGYTIM: Let's switch gears and go back a bit to the Driscoll Catholic years. I was doing some work online and saw some of the state records and stumbled upon Driscoll Catholic in the record book. Looking back, I'm amazed at that state title run, yet it also upsets me that the school closed. When I bring up Driscoll Catholic and the closing of the school, what are your emotions?
Tim Racki: It's incredibly tough to talk about, even today. I don't know if people realize that I graduated from Driscoll. I also spent 13 years working there, so when I look back, I spent half of my life and my career at Driscoll Catholic. I put a lot of time and passion into that school and it never felt like work. I haven't really talked about it much because I tell my kids I focus on the future. When I do think back, I'm with you on this. I have sorrow, a lot of sadness. Yet a lot of joy comes from that time because of the close friendships I made back then and retain to this day. I had tremendous support at Driscoll and I honestly was in the right place at the right time. Guys like Gene Nudo and Rich Marks and I tell people all the time I was just in the right spot at the right time with Driscoll and all I had to do was steer the car because I had such a great staff. I know a lot of people were hacked off at me when I left. But until you have a family and look at the bigger picture, I guess it's easier to throw stones without knowing everything that went into my decision to leave. I still know people who are mad that I left Driscoll to this day, but I also still have so much support from so many of the Driscoll people. It is what it is and I'm blessed to have a 10-year-old and a 6-year-old and a great wife and family. I still have that nucleus of Driscoll friends and family behind me. The school closing still bothers me to this day. The ending still bothers me.
[EDGYTIM.com: Racki interview Part II]
EDGYTIM: So what will 2014 look like for the Nazareth Academy Road Runners?
Tim Racki: I feel good. This is a high character team. We have the talent on paper, but they are also coming from solid homes and solid families. The parents have already done the hard work with the kids, which makes it so much easier. My job is to make sure they stayed focused and not get too big of a head reading sites like yours and the papers. That's always a challenge with high school kids and even more so now with Twitter and social media. Every year, we want to compete for the conference title, but the main goal is always to get into the playoffs and compete for a state title. It's a message that they haven't already heard over the past 3-4 years. I haven't been afraid to pull out the let's play for a state title card for the past 3-4 years now. Before that, when we were building up the program, we scaled back the state title talk a bit and focused more on just winning in the conference and getting into the playoffs. I think the difference with the 2014 team is that every team on our schedule will know we have a lot coming back and a lot of high expectations. We will get everyone's best game in 2014. I'm not sure that was always the case in past seasons, but that won't be an issue in 2014.