Tom Taraska was a lot like Phil Datka when he retired. He really didn't want to hunt or fish.
As a result Taraska, who resigned last spring from Arrowhead after coaching the Warhawks for 29 years, decided to come out of retirement to be the Lancers defensive coordinator.
"I was asked to scout the Homestead and Waterford game last year," Taraska said. "Homestead lost and I was happy I wasn't Dave Kiel (Highlanders coach) because I had been there before. But I was jealous because I wanted to be on the sideline."
Taraska found himself back on the sidelines with new Arrowhead coach Greg Malling a few weeks later, coaching linebackers for his old team. When an opportunity to coach on the Division 2 level at Central opened up, Taraska knew it was an opportunity to move on to another school and never have to worry about facing his old school, which plays in Division 1.
"He does a tremendous job," Central coach Jamie Meulemans said on Monday when he announced the hiring. "He is a great technician and this really completes the staff.
The Lancers coach literally has a Hall of Fame staff, as Taraska joins former Germantown great Phil Datka, who came over to join his former player as the quarterback coach last fall, and Joe Koch, who put together a powerhouse at Oak Creek a few years ago and was the Lancers offensive coordinator last fall.
Taraska will bring his 3-4 defense with him to Central. It worked pretty well for him at Arrowhead, where he won four WIAA Division 1 state championships (1993, 1994, 1996, 2007) and had five other teams finish second.
Meulemans had played against some of Taraska's Arrowhead teams and also worked with him at some of his camps in the early '90's.
Taraska had to go no further to talk to Datka about the transition and when he had the opportunity to jump on board he took the opportunity.
"The fact that they been head coaches, they know the day in and day out responsibilities that I have," Meulemans said. "I don't micromanage and I respect them very much. They do not want to be a head coach again."
"I am very comfortable with Jamie, Phil, Joe and the staff," Taraska said. "It helped that Phil had gone through the same thing recently. It was a good therapy session for me to talk to him about the transition.
"Jamie is a special person and I am glad to come aboard."
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