A great head coach of Union football for 12 years, but an even better person
LA PORTE CITY - Joe Hadachek is a name that is known locally and statewide.
As the head coach of Union for the past 12 years, Hadachek found much success on the field with a 93-38 record, a State title (2011), and three appearances to the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls. However, his path to greatness began way before he took the job in 2007.
Following graduation from the University of Northern Iowa, Hadachek was fortunate enough to get a graduate assistant position at Drake University, where he also earned his Masters Degree in Exercise Science. Those weren’t his only big accomplishments though as he eventually became a full time coach and gave 10 years of service before another life-changing moment came knocking.
“I had the opportunity to be the head coach at Buena Vista University, which was a dream job for me. I probably would have never left, but I was missing out on seeing my kids at two and four. About my second year there, I got involved with a nutritional company called AdvoCare and a year later, I was in a situation blessed enough to be financially free to resign and I started coaching my own kids,” said Coach Hadachek.
Moving back home to Dysart, Hadachek started up a youth program, where he had the great privilege of coaching both his sons in football. Then as we all know, good things happen to good people and that was the case for Hadachek as the perfect situation presented itself.
“Coach (Mark) Hubbard left Union to go to Waverly-Shell Rock. All of a sudden, I had a chance to take over and it was just the right timing for me to get to the high school job. I started surrounding myself with a great coaching staff and then it became about laying the groundwork for what is now 12 years later in Union football,” added Coach Hadachek.
Facing an uphill climb, Hadachek took over a program that had made the playoffs just once in school history. He was also hearing the outside noise that his teams might have a winning record, but they’d be lucky to get into the playoffs and they’d never get to the UNI Dome. Safe to say, he showed them.
“That message resonated with me and I kept telling myself some day. Foundationally, I think the biggest thing was the weight room, along with getting the players to buy in with what work ethic was expected in practice because there are no shortcuts,” stated Coach Hadachek. “I prided myself, my team, and my coaching staff on being good men. Being models as husbands and fathers where I hoped that my players could duplicate that when they graduated because we wanted to build champions.”
Along the way to doing exactly that, Coach Hadachek described it was the relationships he’s built that made his decision to resign the most difficult.
“I just think it’s the most important because of the amount of time you spend with them in practice, in the weight room, and by being a resource to guide them on the journey of life when they are having problems in the classroom or outside the walls of the school. It’s believing in what the coach is telling you and not just taking it as words, but the opportunity to grow yourself as a man,” commented an emotional Coach Hadachek.
Making such an impact on others, Coach Hadachek wrestled with the decision, but ultimately, he decided it was finally time to step down.
“I just feel like my journey has been fulfilled right now. It was my decision and I wanted to do it the right way by telling the administration and the coaching staff. I feel blessed by the whole situation as God’s given me the ability to coach. Doors have been opened and it’s been one heck of a ride for 12 years,” said Coach Hadachek.
With many doors already open, even more are set to be broken down.
“It’s exciting as I begin a new chapter in my life. My wife Gloria has been a rock for me and I have to give her and my kids a lot of thanks for their support. My plan is to raise some bison, but that’s just going to be a hobby. I have a lot of life left and I know I was called on this earth to help influence men. I’m not quite sure what that means right now. I’m just waiting for God to open that door and say Joe, here’s the next step,” mentioned Coach Hadachek.
Whatever it turns out to be, we all know he will make a big difference.