Fred Radske’s father always told him he would know when to walk away from the coaching profession.
After 42 years as an educator and coach between Michigan and Texas, Poteet’s softball coach feels it’s time to hang it up. Radske spent five years at the helm of the Lady Aggies’ softball program. The Michigan native helped guide the Lady Aggies to the playoffs in 2018.
Radske looks back fondly on the work ethic of his teams at Poteet. No matter the situation, his girls would always put in the work at practice while laughing and enjoying the moment.
“I had some really good softball players,” Radske said. “We didn’t reach the goals that we wanted. But the kids had willingness to put in the hard work every day and show up. They came every day and laughed and worked together. That part, the camaraderie, was very important to me. That’s what I’m gonna take out of Poteet. The kids I had there were wonderful. I’m going to miss them.”
Prior to his stay at Poteet, Radske spent four years at Jourdanton as an assistant football coach in addition to Head Coach of the boy’s basketball and softball teams. The veteran coach also saw stops at Poth, Freer, Hebbronville and Laredo Nixon during his long career.
Radske found his love for the profession while helping his dad coach little league in Michigan when he was 16 years old.
“I started in college and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I always had a love for working with kids,” Radske said. “It’s been awesome. My last few years at Poteet have been with some of the best kids I’ve ever been around. I had some great kids at Jourdanton and all the schools I’ve been around. I couldn’t have had a better career.”
Radske knows the impression a coach can leave on a player. A coach not only has duties on the field and in the classroom, but they can also serve as a mentor or parental figure to those who need it. Radske and his wife, Billie, were no strangers to that and were willing to take in kids in need during their time as educators.
“My wife and I have raised other children at our house that were students or athletes of ours,” Radske said. “We had two of our own, a son and a daughter, and raised many more in our homes as we moved. Not only did I act like a coach and a teacher, but a father, my wife a mother, a counselor, whatever role we had to fulfill. Those things were very fulfilling.”
Radske has also passed along his love for coaching to his players. Jessica Vrana, who served as Head Coach for Jourdanton softball in 2021, was one of Radske’s players during his time at Jourdanton. Vrana moved in before her junior season and was coached by Radske in her final two years before signing to play at Schreiner University in 2014.
“Throughout those two years, he always pushed us to be the best we could be,” Vrana said. “And both my junior and senior years we had successful seasons.”
When Vrana took over the Head Coach position at her alma mater, she didn’t hesitate to lean on Radske’s experience to help her as a first-year Head Coach, though Radske was the one to reach out to his former player first.
“When we would match up to play each other in district, he would ask me how I was doing and check up on me,” Vrana added. “He would let me pick his brain on the dos and don’ts of being a first-year Head Coach. I appreciated the insight he had on things due to him being a veteran coach.”
Now, Radske is looking forward to more down time in his personal life and the ability to complete tasks that may have been put on the back burner due to the hectic schedule of a coach and teacher.
“[I’m looking forward to] just living and doing things that maybe I have neglected, whether I didn’t have time or made an excuse for,” Radske said. “Just to wash and wax my truck, for example. I laughed at my wife one time. I was heading to a game and there was stuff all over the truck from school. I said, ‘The truck’s a mess.’ She looked at me and went, ‘That’s your job.’ She was right. I have neglected little, simple things because, when you’re a coach, you neglect things that should be done sometimes.”