New Prairie hires Casey McKim as football coach
Updated: May 6, 2020
Valparaiso offensive coordinator Casey McKim has been formally named the head football coach at New Prairie High School, succeeding Russ Radtke, who left for the same position at Portage. "They're getting a tremendous coach," Valparaiso coach Bill Marshall said. "As I said in my letter to the parents and players, he's a Viking through and through. He has a passion for the kids and the community a drive that's unmatched. He loves football. For the staff and players, he'll be dearly missed, but it's always been his dream to become a head coach, to have his own program, and it's definitely his time. We're excited to see and watch what he will do at New Prairie. Going to a community with a rich tradition in football, I think it's an excellent fit. We feel like they're getting one of the very best." McKim has 12 years of coaching experience, including eight at Valparaiso, where he worked with the wide receivers, defensive line, offensive line and linebackers. He was selected by the Indiana Football Coaches Association to represent Region 1 as an assistant in this year's North-South All-Sar Game, which was recently cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Valparaiso won four Duneland Athletic Conference titles and two sectionals during McKim's tenure, reaching the Class 5A state championship game this season. "He's a constant learner," Marshall said. "The amount of success we've had, a lot of it is attributable to him on the offensive side of the ball. He's creative and innovative with the things he can do." Also a freshman basketball coach at Valpo, McKim taught Social Studies and was selected as a student’s most influential teacher three times in his career. "When you get somebody else who loves sports, we made a connection real quick," Marshall said. "He was right down the hall from me and we're going to miss him in what we call the upper blue hallway there." A Valpo graduate, McKim played football and ran track while maintaining Honor Roll status as a student. He was a sophomore on the 2001 state runner-up team and a junior on a regional champion the following year. In college, McKim served as a student manager with the Purdue football team, evaluating recruiting film, reviewing scouting data, handling equipment and setting up practices. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies/Education and was named to the Dean’s List all four years. He also earned a Master’s of Science degree in Education Administration from Purdue University Calumet. McKim started his career as a middle school teacher and coach in Michigan City, then spent three years as a high school assistant and a teacher at Blackford before coming home to Valpo. "His philosophy on the sport is a thing that's proven to work here," New Prairie Director of Athletics Ben Bachmann said. "One of the things that came through is he's a teacher in the classroom and a teacher on the field. That's been true every place he's been. He has the ability to work well with coaches and kids." The hiring capped a protracted process that included multiple series of interviews and a re-posting of the position. "In general, the process took longer than we had hoped based on the world climate we're in," Bechmann said. "A lot of factors came into play that took a lot of time, having Zoom meetings and everyone being available. Sometimes, it can be a challenge." McKim, who will teach Social Studies at New Prairie, was approved for hire by the school board at a meeting Tuesday.
"I learned through this process, the people, family as well as the sense of community that exists here has been a bedrock for this school system and program over the years," McKim said. "I'm honored to become a part of that family and that community. I'm walking into a very strong foundation. Parents, players and coaches have spent countless hours and energy working in this program over the years. One thing that will be a guiding principle of our program is that we're always going to seek to get better, whether it's in the classroom or it's on the field. We're going to work every single day to get better, every rep, every practice, every day."
Three assistants left along with Radtke, leaving vacancies on the staff that will be filled after there is clarity on what teaching positions will be available. Current coaches Bill Gumm, Bobby Whitenack, Jim Schwingendorf and Josh Bolakowski remain.
"It's very difficult in these times to figure out what we're going to do next and I'd like to include them in that process," McKim said. "I can't wait to meet the players and parents throughout this process."