Jamie Kachmark stays involved in the college game

J. Patrick Eaken

Cardinal Stritch boys basketball players are fortunate to have Jamie Kachmarik as their high school coach.

Kachmarik was a collegiate coach for 16 years, and in his seven years at Stritch his teams have gone 132-41, won three Toledo Area Athletic Conference titles, three district titles, one regional title and one state final four appearance. He was also 2018 and 2021 TAAC Coach of the Year and a three-time Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Coach of the Year.

This year, behind District 7 Division III and TAAC Player of the Year senior Jhaiden Wilson, the Cardinals went 14-5 and reached the district finals, where they fell to Archbold, 59-56.

To motivate his team, on their warm-up jerseys they wore “Team McGee”, honoring Stritch baseball coach Mike McGee. Last spring, McGee was diagnosed with cancer nearly at the same time the baseball season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The good news — McGee is on the road to recovery and plans to coach baseball this spring.

“When he was first diagnosed, they came out with these fundraiser shirts by basically his family and some of the baseball parents. They made these “Team McGee” t-shirts last spring when they first found out,” Kachmarik said. 

“That was their motto, Team McGee, so I just kind of decided to surprise him and have it on the back of our shooting shirts to try to lift his spirits a little bit, because with him having cancer and this whole COVID thing, it was just kind of a down year. So, we dedicated something toward him this year. He is in good spirits now and getting his strength back.”

Kachmarik, a 1993 Rossford graduate, worked for then-BGSU head coach Jim Larrañaga while earning his degree from Bowling Green State University. After college, Larrañaga helped Kachmarik get involved and land a job as part of the Jim O’Brien coaching staff at Ohio State, where he was part of the 1999 final four team and the 2000 Big Ten championship team.

“I coached at (the College of) William and Mary for three years, from there I went to Coastal Carolina University for six years, then Appalachian State for a year and UNC-Wilmington for three years. So, I’ve got about 16 years on the coaching staffs at many different places. Everything from video coordinator at Ohio State to associate head coach at Appalachian State and at UNC-Wilmington,” explained Kachmarik.

During his tenure at North Carolina of Wilmington from 2010-2013, Kachmarik spent time breaking down video, fundraising for the school and handled a number of basketball operation duties. Kachmarik also handled the offensive coordinating for the team.

In addition to coaching, Kachmarik has shown involvement and leadership off the court. He is currently a member of the committee for the CollegeInsider.com Basketball Tournament and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He also helps the NCAA evaluate officials.

“I still helped out this year with the evaluation of officials. Now, we could not do it in person, so it had to be watching games on video,” Kachmarik said.

He is on the executive staff of the post season College Insider Tournament, which he said was canceled again this year because “there are too many restrictions” due to pandemic protocols.

However, one of his biggest joys is being appointed to College Insider’s newly-formed “Eracism” committee.

“I was just named to the board of Eracism with College Insider,” Kachmarik said. “It’s a board to help defeat racism and help minority coaches possibly get more opportunities. I’m on the executive board with a bunch of former coaches, current head coaches, and we’re kind of really trying to open up doors for African Americans to get in the doors and get more interviews, per se, for head coaching jobs and that type of stuff. We’re really trying to let people know things that people didn’t know in the past and do things that way.”

One of those “things that people don’t know” about includes the history behind coach John McClendon’s predominantly black team at North Carolina Central in 1944.

“Coach John McClendon, who was also at Cleveland State and Tennessee State at one time, was kind of a pioneer as a head coach for African-Americans. A lot of people didn’t know about “the secret game” where he had North Carolina Central play Duke at the YMCA in North Carolina and they didn’t tell anybody about it because at that time the white colleges could not play the historically black colleges,” Kachmarik said. 

“So, a couple weeks ago a lot of teams are wearing t-shirts that are saying, ‘This game is no secret.’ That was part of our group to tell people the history of how it was, and how coach McClendon was a pioneer and knocked down the barriers of the colleges playing against the historically black colleges. So, we’re doing a bunch of different things with that, and that is my newest involvement.” (— includes information from a file story by Press writer Stephanie Szozda)



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