Schuckman: Rabe knows sweat-on-the-brow coaches fit what QU athletic department needs


New Quincy University men's basketball coach Brad Hoyt listens to the introduction from athletic director Josh Rabe during Tuesday's press conference in the Hall of Fame Room on the QU campus. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Experience has provided Josh Rabe with perspective.

During Rabe’s three years as the Quincy University athletic director, the head coach of three of the most high-profile programs on campus has resigned to pursue another coaching opportunity. None of those programs could be considered in the midst of thriving at the time.

So it required Rabe to be strategic in who he hired and why he hired them.

“As an administrator, you know when people are thinking about moving on,” Rabe said. “Then you have to do your homework. And then you have to do a time and score assessment. What do we need? What is the current climate here? What do we need to keep moving this thing forward?”

In each instance, Rabe found a commonality.

QU needed a coach willing to put boots to the ground, sweat on their brow and dirt on their hands. In other words, he needed a coach with a work ethic that mirrored his, the kind born from growing up in a family and a community that prides itself on a blue-collar approach.

Courtney Boyd fits that bill. A Keokuk, Iowa, native, Boyd climbed the women’s basketball coaching ladder through effort, ultimately winning an NAIA national championship at Clarke University. In her first season at QU, she made the Hawks more competitive by the day and is recruiting players with that bulldogged mentality.

Jason Killday fits that bill, too. A Winchester, Ill., native who grew up on the family farm, Killday knows there are no shortcuts to success. Do the work, reap the rewards. It’s how he went from a high school assistant coach to an NCAA Division II offensive coordinator and ultimately QU’s head football coach.

Brad Hoyt is the latest to fit that bill. As men’s basketball coach and athletic director at John Wood Community College the past 13 years, Hoyt poured his heart and soul into everything. He lined the soccer fields. He swept the gym floor. He set up for special events. He learned to run the video board. He did whatever was necessary.

He produced a winner, too, as he guided the Trail Blazers to four NJCAA Division II national tournament berths and a national runner-up finish during his tenure.

“He’s the guy who fit the bill in more ways than one for what we need,” Rabe said.

Rabe knows. He’s paid attention.

Steve Hawkins’ decision to leave after two seasons as the QU head coach didn’t blindside the athletic director or leave him scrambling. He knew who was at the top of his list, who completed his list and who he might hear from once the opening became public.

He hadn’t predetermined who he might hire because there may have been no mutual interest, but he knew who he needed to consider.

“You have a short list for every job up and down the hallway,” Rabe said. “You do because you have to.”

It just so happens the person at the top of the short list in each of the last three hires had QU on their short list of jobs they’d consider.

So there was no need for an expansive national search. No need to drag out the hiring process. No need to leave the student-athletes in limbo for longer than necessary.

That doesn’t mean Rabe neglected the fact he needed to do his due diligence in vetting each coach and considering others. His email was filled with resumes shortly after Hawkins left. Agents reached out on behalf of their coaching clients. A vast number of names came across Rabe’s desk and his phone, but none fit the way Hoyt did.

He’s a winner. He’s a hard worker. And he has the ability to generate community-wide interest and community-wide respect immediately.

Plus, he has that bulldogged determination to succeed Boyd, Killday and Rabe all possess.

“I feel strongly that the men’s basketball program here can get itself in position to compete,” Hoyt said. “I really do believe that. The landscape of college basketball has changed, and I feel my skill set fits that. Everything from the timing for me to where the program is currently at to some of the things I bring to the table that can help us make the next step, it just made sense.”

It made perfect sense to Rabe, too, which is why there was no need to wait.

Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?

Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.

Related Articles