union1The Union High School student body and staff joined Head Football Coach Joe Hadachek in celebrating Hadachek’s status as one of the 15 finalists in the first-ever Most Valuable Coach program sponsored by U.S. Cellular.

On Friday, representatives of the cellular service presented Hadachek and Union a $1,000 check, and encouraged Union fans to vote for Coach Hadachekeach day through Nov. 18. As of Monday morning, Hadachek was a close third in voting. The top 2 vote-getting coaches from among those 15 finalists will be honored at the Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 1, in Orlando.

Hadachek received more than 6,000 votes from Union fans during the first round; fans can vote each day HERE.

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During Friday’s assembly, Hadachek thanked his “rock” — his wife, Gloria, for her support through his many years of coaching. He thanked his players, and the Union school board administrators for their commitment to offering first-class facilities. During Hadachek’s 10 years at Union, the team has qualified for the play-offs each year, and the school and community have built a new playing field and weight room for the Union athletic program. He thanked all of the Union assistant coaches for their work and Union teachers for demanding academic excellence from their students.check

Hadachek recalled his high school days, and the teacher who urged him to “think a little higher,” after he had shared his “mediocre” life goals with her.

“She said, ‘Think bigger; you are better than that,'” the coach recalled. He told the students to find role models who will make a difference in their lives.

The coach also praised the team members for their community involvement, responding as volunteers during the recent flood in the La Porte area as well as during the wind storm that damaged parts of the Dysart area in 2011.

Union gym teacher and tennis coach Erin Wittenburg and assistant football coach Scott Denner spoke during the ceremony. Denner credited Hadachek for bringing a message of “faith and family” to the Union football community, for encouraging athletes to be involved in many school activities while also focusing on academics, for bringing the community together and creating “impactful” half-time events, and for “just being a great guy.”team

The Union band and cheerleaders led the crowd in cheers and the school fight song, and players joined the Hadacheks for photos after the ceremony.

See some of Coach’s speech below: