By Steve Robinson | May 12, 2018 - 10:03 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite

Hud Venerable is back in the Twin Cities after having spent from 2009 until last summer at Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox. Prior to leaving for Lincoln-Way Central, Venerable was the familiar face as head football coach at Normal Community High School. He returned to the Twin Cities last summer to take the Athletic Director post at Bloomington Central Catholic.

When I caught up with him, Venerable was in the midst of a celebration at the end of Illinois High School Association Class 2A boys’ basketball tourney where the Saints finished in third place having beaten Pinckneyville.

“I remember when I got hired, they told me we were pretty good at boys’ basketball and we had the makings of a good team last year,” Venerable said about what he had heard about the team he celebrated with on the Carver Arena floor in Peoria in March.

As the Saints were hoisting their trophy in March, Venerable, who had been head football coach at NCHS before moving on to Lincoln-Way Central in 2008, was looking forward to BCC’s spring sports season.

During his first season at BCC as athletic director, “First, you observe a lot,” Venerable explained. “You’re trying to get to know people. You’re trying to get to know coaches. I’ve just been doing a lot of observing, watching, and just learning the ins and outs of the school.”

Any new incoming AD knows “you don’t want to make changes year one,” Venerable said. “You’re just trying to get your feet settled and look ahead to the second year.” He said being hired last July, considered late the way schools and their sports calendars are concerned, pushed him to meet quickly with fall and winter sports coaches and had him bracing to turn his attention to spring sports when I caught up with him in Peoria.

In 14 seasons patrolling the Ironmen sidelines, Venerable’s teams won over 90 games and had one undefeated season, in 2006, going 14-0. In addition to showing his players the way to victory and maturity, he also appears to have inspired his players.

Case in point would be Derek Logue, who played for Venerable’s Class 6A championship squad during his junior year. Logue became a graduate of Eastern Illinois University, and had been part of the coaching staff at Effingham High School the past three years. Logue will take the helm at Heyworth High School this summer.

“I’m very proud of Derek,” Venerable said. “He’ll do a good job. That’s awesome.”

Venerable also had glowing things to say about BCC’s administration in the time he’s been there. “John Foster’s a wonderful principal,” Venerable said. “The people of Central Catholic have been great. It’s been a really enjoyable experience.”

Being a smaller school compared to when he worked in public education, Venerable explained, “We’ve got so many good programs at Central, so many strong programs, there’s a lot of tradition, a lot of history, so I want to continue to build on those things.”

“He’s a great guy,” said Father Joseph Baker, head chaplain at BCC, of Venerable. “He’s doing a lot of good stuff for our program. He’s very popular and supports everything we’re about.”

Standing on the Carver Arena court not far from his new AD, Baker added, “He wants our kids to grow in every way, not just as athletes.”

All teachers, administrators, and coaches join parents in wanting that, and it appears BCC has hired the right man to help in that effort with Saints players from what I heard. Venerable said when he moved back into town, he wound up not too far from where he lived when he coached at NCHS.

From what I learned, it sounds like what he learned the first time he was here never left him and as a result, Venerable was able to inspire kids and staff and parents in New Lenox, and return to the Twin Cities to continue providing that inspiration.

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