Golden Season for Pacelli's Raczek

By: Ryan Wing Email
By: Ryan Wing Email

Bob Raczek has been the head coach at Pacelli since 1967, winning three state titles and becoming the third-winningest coach in Wisconsin history.

Before that he spent one year at UW-Stout as an assistant coach, four at Plainfield Tri-County high school as head coach, AND one at Pacelli as an assistant before taking over in '67.

Add it all up, this season is his 50th year coaching.

"Anytime you hear anybody talk about Pacelli outside of here," athletic director John Raflik said, "the main thing they think about is football and when you think about football, you think about Coach Raczek."

"I don't know where they went." Raczek said. "You go back and start looking at games, and I'll tell ya, it's been a good 50 years though, otherwise I wouldn't be in it. I've had a lot of fun. I've had some excellent athletes to work with. I had some excellent coaches to work with these 50 years."

After all his success on the field, it was an event off the field that changed Coach's life forever. In 2004, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

"Really something different, you know. I think one of my first cancer doctors I talked to, he says, Coach, he says, you aren't going to die from cancer. You're going to die from something else. You keep on coaching, that's probably better than medicine for you."

Throughout his coaching career, he's always had the strength and support of his wife, Pat.

"She's really been supportive and she goes to about 95% of the games yet. Lot of times she'll go with us on the team bus. She enjoys football even now watching other kids play."

While all 345 of his wins are nice, coach says his favorite part of his job is working with the kids.

"He always wants us in the front row of every class, raising our hands, participating. Always wants us to be leaders and show the school that Pacelli football is leaders," said running back Kelvin Stroik.

"We just love playing for him and you know when he's out there, he loves the game," quarterback Andy Rice adds. "He brings that passion and we all see it too when he gets excited."

"The guy knows anything and everything about football, has probably forgotten more about football than anybody's ever known about it," Raflik said.

"I'm 72 now and had a lot of fun, but I wouldn't mind going a few years yet," Raczek said laughing. "Coach Joe up at Penn State, he's 82 or so and he's still going strong, so it'd be great to do that."

He's already coached three of his sons and if he stays around long enough, he might even coach his grandson.

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