After more than 50 years of having a Raczek roaming the sidelines and coaching the Pacelli football program, there will be a new face in charge when the 2014 season kicks off.
Pacelli High School, in conjunction with Stevens Point Area Catholic Schools, announced Tuesday that David Krystowiak has been hired as a teacher at the high school and as head football coach.
“I’m super blessed to have this opportunity, because these opportunities don’t come around every day,” Krystowiak said. “I’m excited to get going. This is a great school to work with, and the administration has been super supportive.
“I’m a process guy. I want to do right by the kids and invest in them, and teach them values and if we’re doing the right things, wins will come. “If we happen to lose, I’ll still know I have done right by the kids, because they’ll be great men, husbands and fathers.”
Krystowiak replaces Steve Raczek, who stepped down at the end of last season after 19 years on the Cardinals coaching staff, including the last two years as head coach.
Prior to that, legendary coach and the late Bob Raczek strolled the sidelines at Tri-County High School and Goerke Park for 50 years, concluding his career with a 360-165-2 record to rank second on the state’s all-time win list.
No one has to tell Krystowiak he has some big shoes to fill.
“The Raczek family is the first family of Pacelli football, so it’s both exciting and humbling to follow in their footsteps. They’re both spoken so highly of not only as football coaches, but men,” Krystowiak said. “I wouldn’t say it’s intimidating, and I hope people won’t judge me by his standards. I’m a different person and I try not to compare myself to other people.”
Pacelli athletic director John Raflik noted that between a dozen to 15 candidates inquired about the opening, and the list was eventually trimmed to three candidates who were interviewed.
The primary criteria the school was looking for in its next coach was a deep understanding of football, but someone who didn’t limit the teaching to the football field.
“We felt we had three quality candidates and we would have been happy with any one of them,” Raflik said. “David was very enthusiastic about coaching football and he had more coaching experience, so that was probably the biggest thing.”
The Cardinals are coming off a 2-7 season, including a 1-6 mark in the Central Wisconsin Conference-8.
A native of Milwaukee and a graduate of Burlington High School, Krystowiak takes comfort in knowing the task of returning the Cardinals to their winnings ways won’t be as daunting a task as his previous head coaching experience at the high school level.
Krystowiak served as the head coach at Crean Lutheran High School in Irvine, Calif. for four years, where he built the program from scratch, and eventually recorded a winning season.
“At least these kids know what a football helmet is, so we’re already ahead of the game,” Krystowiak joked.
In addition to starting up his own high school football program, Krystowiak has served as an assistant football coach at the high school (Winona (Minn.) Senior High) and college level, including at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Stevens Point Area Catholic Schools president Todd Kuckkahn noted that Krystowiak’s background as an assistant coach and head coach at various levels helped separate him from the other coaching candidates.
“David has a lot of respect for the Pacelli tradition, and what coach Bob and Steve Raczek did for Pacelli football,” Kuckkahn said. “We are excited that David will be joining us and continuing the long tradition of success at Pacelli High School. His enthusiasm is contagious.
“We had to look at our overall system staffing in regards to some of the applicants, but it’s always good to have the position filled, and now we can get the kids ready for summer training.”
Krystowiak plans to have a coaching staff in place in the near future, and plans to meet with members of the previous coaching staff before completing the process.
“I’m still in the very initial stages of putting a staff together,” Krystowiak said. “I understand the existing staff has a number of very good coaches who are invested in the program. I’m looking to have a mix of that tradition and bring in some new blood.”