Pulling double duty: Kristi, Adam Kaack share coaching, family responsibilities
Caring for a baby less than a month old and two other boys under 10 years old is a challenge for most parents.
Add guiding a 9-3 high school girls basketball team to those duties, and what Kristi and Adam Kaack are doing at Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic this season is almost unbelievable.
“It takes an extreme amount of dedication to each other,” Adam Kaack said. “I want to support anything that she wants to do, and she loves this game. She loves our boys as much as I do on both ends. Well, she probably does love basketball three times as much as I do, but anything I can do to help her here is great. She supports me at work and all the things I do. We do anything we can do to make sure we have coverage both at home and in the basketball program.”
The couple have split the head coaching duties this season for the Lady Marauders due to Kristi giving birth to their third son, Christian, on Jan. 3 at about 3 p.m. That same night, Adam coached BG to a victory over Bishop McCort.
“I love this sport so much,” Kristi Kaack said. “As much as I love my family, I can balance it. My family and Adam’s family are wonderful in helping out, so we have a lot of support in the area to be able to do it. I’m thankful I never had to pick and give one up.”
As the Kaacks raise their young family, they are also bringing along a Bishop Guilfoyle squad that is getting better with each game.
“When we started and took over, we saw the pieces,” Adam Kaack said. “One of the things (former BG coach Mark) Moschella said was ‘listen, the cupboard isn’t empty,’ and he was right. We were excited to get to work with them. Last year was a big growing year that was semi-successful, but the message has clearly been heard. What they have decided to do this year as a group has been a complete joy.”
Adam said he can see parallels with the Lady Marauders and his family at home.
“We preach that our team is a family,” Adam Kaack said. “And at home, our family is 100 percent a team, there’s no doubt about it. The help of the kids’ grandparents and aunts and uncles is always there for our family the way the Bishop Guilfoyle community is there for this team.”
Kristi Kaack treated her Lady Marauders to pizza after Saturday’s home game against Juniata Valley, just over a week after she gave birth. She plans on returning to the bench in the next week or two.
“It’s always hard when you’re making a change or a transition in the middle of the season,” Kristi Kaack said. “But the girls have been wonderful. Adam and I see the game a little bit differently, which I think is a good thing. I see his weaknesses, and he sees my weaknesses, so I’m giving advice to him and he’s taking what he can, but overall it’s gone pretty smooth I think.”
The players agree that they are growing under both Adam and Kristi.
“When Adam wants something done, it better get done,” Aurielle Brunner, a junior on this year’s team, said. “If you don’t do it, you’re sitting on the bench. He pushes you, where Kristi is more laid back.
“We’ve gotten help from both coaches. They both push us in different ways but get the best out of our ability.”
Kaack’s other sons, Brayden, 7, and Carter, 4, are already a part of the Bishop Guilfoyle family as well.
“The baby threw us for a loop because it was in the middle of the season,” Kristi Kaack said. “But my kids are at the age now where they come to practices and play and you don’t have to worry about them. They are gym rats. They are going to grow up in a gym. That’s what I did, and I look forward to my kids doing that, too.”
As for Kristi and Adam’s “kids” on the court this year, Saturday was a setback. The Lady Marauders fell, 65-50, to a Juniata Valley team expected to compete for a District 6 Class 2A and PIAA title.
Bishop Guilfoyle was competitive at times and also led against Forest Hills earlier this season in a pair of losses.
“We’re excited for games like (against Juniata Valley),” Kristi Kaack said. “They give us a test to see where we are, and last year, we were winning games by 10 that we should have been winning by 30. This year, we’re winning by 30. When we get to the point where we’re competing with Juniata Valley, Bellwood, Forest Hills and the better teams in the area, we’ll know we’re reaching our goal. I still think we have a little bit of work to get there.”
While Adam and Kristi juggle parenting duties with their three growing boys, the Lady Marauders seem poised to make a similar jump.
“I think this is a special team that will continue to grow throughout the year,” Kristi Kaack said. “At the end, when we’re in districts, we hope for a different outcome when we play some of these higher seeded teams. I’m proud of them.”