Pat Kreke thought he would finish his coaching career at Fenwick High School. When his time with the Falcons boys’ basketball team ended unexpectedly in March 2019, there was only one other place he wanted to go – his alma mater Badin High School.
Now, after two years as an assistant with the Rams, he is excited about the chance to get back to a head coaching role and tie up his career in a fitting fashion.
On his 64th birthday last Friday, Badin announced Kreke as its new boys basketball coach.
“When I left Fenwick, everyone knew Badin was the only place I would finish my career,” Kreke said. “Any coach will say, ‘this is my dream job,’ when they are applying for a position, but most of the time, that’s just talk. At this point, there’s nowhere else I would want to be.”
A 1975 graduate of Badin, Kreke had joined Gerry Weisgerber’s staff in 2019-20 as an assistant with no expectations he would one day get a chance to replace him, though it was well-known Weisgerber was planning to retire in the near future. When Weisgerber returned for a second stint as Badin’s head coach in 2016-17, he had told administration he would give them a maximum of five years.
Weisgerber retired in March after his fifth season, finishing with a 339-193 record in 23 total years with the Rams.
“I didn’t think about (a head coaching opportunity) at that point,” Kreke said. “I knew Gerry said he would be out in five years, but I didn’t believe him, to be honest. When it came out that he was retiring, that’s when I really thought about it.”
Kreke said he would have been content as an assistant if someone else was hired for the job, but he’s grateful for the opportunity. He brings with him a 380-306 record in 30 seasons at Fenwick, where he will remain on staff as a teacher.
The 2005 Badin Athletic Hall of Fame inductee said is teaching license is up next year and he plans to renew it for another five years, but he doesn’t have any kind of timeline like Weisgerber had for how much longer he wants to coach. Kreke does plan on this being his last stop, though, for as long as Badin will have him – and he realizes the shoes he has to fill.
“Gerry is a legend at Badin,” Kreke said. “Taking over for him, I’m really happy I could spend the last two years coaching with him. I coached against him all those years, and I always respected him and it was an honor to coach alongside him. It’s just been great. I’ve lived in Hamilton my whole life. I never moved to Middletown (to be near Fenwick), and it’s great to move back to Badin. The administration has been great, the community has been great. Every school has its own culture. I had two years to learn the culture and get involved, and I couldn’t be happier to finish my career here.”
Kreke takes over a team that finished 10-14 this season and graduates 11 seniors. Four underclassmen were on the varsity roster.
That means the Rams have plenty of room to grow, but they will be inexperienced next season. Kreke also will have to shift his way of thinking with this group, as they bring different skill sets to the floor that he will have to consider in terms of the style of play.
“There’s a lot of talented players, but not a lot of varsity experience,” Kreke said. “I’m excited about the kids coming back. They can get up and down the floor. They are very athletic. I’m usually more of a half-court, grind-it-out, but it won’t be that way with this group. Their quality is getting up and down the court and shooting the ball. It will be exciting to watch this come together.”
Badin athletic director Geoff Melzer said he is confident Kreke can lead the program in a positive direction.
“His ties to Badin and being in the Athletic Hall of Fame really had nothing to do with why we chose him,” Melzer said. “It’s who he is as a person and his ability to connect and relate with the players, that’s what makes him such a great coach. We are thrilled to have him as our coach.”