Story by Jeff Gallatin
Photos by Larry Bennet
A new head coach with a strong background in old school traditions is leading the North Olmsted Eagles onto the field in 2013.
Tim Brediger, a 1994 North Olmsted graduate who served as an assistant for 14 years – nine as defensive coordinator, including the last eight with former head coach Mike Ptacek - has taken over as the head man after Ptacek became the school’s athletic director earlier this year.
Brediger said he appreciates what’s he’s gained from Ptacek through the years as well as the legacy he left.
“Mike was one of my coaches when I played at North Olmsted,” Brediger said. “I’ve learned a lot from him through the years, both as a player and as a coach. You can tell people think a lot of him. He has set a great example for everybody involved with the team for many years.”
Brediger was inducted into the North Olmsted Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007 for his work as an all district football player and all Ohio baseball player. He went on to Mercyhurst University (Pa.), where he was a three-year starter at wide receiver, team captain and earned both All American and Academic All American honors.
He said what he learned at North Olmsted aided him on and off the field, and that he is proud to continue to be able to help further his alma mater’s athletic and academic endeavors.
“It’s a great school with great kids, and I really enjoy being here,” he said. “I am honored and privileged to accept the head coaching position at North Olmsted High School.
“This has been a dream of mine since I started coaching, and I am excited to begin the journey. I hope to continue the Eagle tradition with pride, character, and class, and am truly blessed to have this opportunity,” he added.
With 10 starters and 19 lettermen coming back from a 7-3 team which just missed making the state playoffs - plus fierce overall competition for positions - Brediger said the team has a strong foundation.
Part of that strong foundation is four returning three-year starters, including: quarterback/defensive back Brad Novak, offensive/ defensive lineman Beau Bilinsky, wide receiver/defensive back Brandon Dickey and inside linebacker/running back Luke Janik.
“They’re quality players and people,” Brediger said. “All are captains, excellent leaders and high-character student-athletes.”
He said they provide strong leadership for their teammates and have helped the team continue to progress.
He also cited three seniors: tight end/ linebacker Joey Keleman, plus offensive linemen Jeff Rotheram and Andrew Bukala. Brediger also mentioned two juniors, wide receiver/defensive back Matt Starkovic and defensive back Benny Kurcsak as being among the top returnees.
“We have four offensive linemen back as well as several of the top receivers to go with Brad Novak’s running and passing abilities, so that will help us on offense,” he said. “We did lose six starters on defense, as well as some key backups throughout the team. But we have some great competition for the positions, which should help us develop some strong depth.”
Brediger said the team also has several newcomers making a strong push for playing time, including junior fullback/linebacker Jacob Jones,along with seniors fullback/linebacker Chris Lewis, defensive back/wide receiver Jacob Servidio and tight end linebacker Eric Herman.
In addition, Brediger said safety/wide receiver Ryan Coleman and cornerback/safety Kyle Wapshott are leading a group of several sophomores seeking significant playing time.
Brediger also lauded the addition of a quartet of coaches from Olmsted Falls to the coaching staff as being strong additions to the North Olmsted program.
“At North Olmsted we certainly how strong Olmsted Falls’ program has been for many years,” he said. “We lost several assistants, so we were fortunate to pick up coaches with this kind of experience, knowledge and professionalism, they’ve made a big impact here.”
With the Eagles just missing a berth in the state playoffs in 2012, Brediger said he was happy to line up some highly competitive scrimmages with Strongsville, Avon and Medina to help get the team ready for playing in the always-competitive Southwestern Conference.
“I thought it would be good to play some tough teams like that,” he said. “Strongsville has been good for a long time. Avon also has a strong program and will be coming into the conference soon, so that kind of competition will help us get ready.”
Brediger noted the SWC is always highly competitive and also cited the addition of Bay, a former SWC school, to the schedule for the next two years.
“When I was in school, they were among our big conference rivals,” he said. “So adding them goes right along with playing a tough conference and non-conference schedule.”
One key North Olmsted school administrator has no doubt Brediger is up to the challenge of taking care of his team on and off the field.
North Olmsted High School principal Jeffrey Stanton, himself a former high school coach and athletic director, said Brediger is the ideal person to replace Ptacek.
“Tim, first and foremost, is a great teacher,” Stanton said. “He’s great in the classroom (Brediger is an Advanced Placement Biology teacher) and in the school with the students.
“He also relates and communicates well with his athletes. I have no doubt he’ll be a fine head coach. He was the right man in the right place when we needed someone to replace Mike as head coach,” he added.
And when it was noted the team had just missed the playoffs in 2012, Stanton acknowledged that fact could well be on the minds of those connected with the team.
“There could be a sense of unfinished business and Tim being the teacher he is can certainly harness that,” he said.
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