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Brodowicz named coach at Charlotte Catholic

By Langston Wertz Jr.
lwertz@charlotteobserver.com
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Charlotte Catholic named defensive assistant Mike Brodowicz to replace longtime head coach Jim Oddo.

Mike Brodowicz, the new head football coach at Charlotte Catholic, said the Cougars will still run the football the way they always have, but he said the school’s infamous Wing-T offense is going to get a new wrinkle or two.

“We’re going to modify it a little,” said Brodowicz, a 50-year-old Elon graduate who has worked at the school since 2002. “But we’re still going to run the football. That’s what we do here. We will still run the ball and be physical. I’ve seen the success we’ve had. I won’t be dumb and reinvent the wheel here.”

Brodowicz, who played quarterback in college, was named Friday as the replacement for legendary coach Jim Oddo. Oddo, who has been the school’s head coach since 1973, coached more than 500 games, finishing with a record of 358-145-2. He finished last season as the state’s active wins leader. Under Oddo, the Cougars won three N.C. High School Athletic Association championships in 1977, 2004 and 2005. Charlotte Catholic made the N.C. 4A semifinals in 2013.

This is Brodowicz’s first high school head coaching job. He was previously a JV head coach at Providence Day, and an assistant at Elon and at Eastern Alamance High. Catholic athletics director Kevin Christmas said he was convinced he had found the right guy to replace Oddo in Brodowicz.

“He’s been a part of the system,” Christmas said. “He knows the tradition and he has some innovative ideas.”

Oddo, too, likes the choice.

“I think he’ll be pretty good,” Oddo said. “Any one of those three coaches would’ve been great. They’re all talented, knowledgable and they’re smarter than I am. I think Mike is well prepared. He’s got a good background and he’s a worker.”

Oddo said it will be weird to not coach football this fall for the first time since the 1960s.

“I’ve got mixed emotions,” he said, “but it’s time. I let my gut steer me and I can’t do the things I used to do and I can’t see the things I used to see. I’m realistic enough to know it’s time to step aside. Anybody Charlotte Catholic gets will do well. There’s a good spirit there that comes from a lot of places – student body, parents, alumni – that have been very supportive. (Holy Trinity) middle school is a great asset. We get to see kids we’ll have before they get to us and know who plays what positions. We have a camp and gets kids in second, third, fourth grades involved. They wear T-shirts to games on Friday nights and they know the players. It’s a really nice situation to stay competitive. I’m not saying they win nine games every year, but they’ll be competitive.”

Brodowicz said that’s the plan – remaining competitive.

He and his wife, Lorie, have three children, all in Catholic school. He’ll coach his oldest son, who will be a 10th-grader next fall.

“I’ve thought about this and thought about it,” Brodowicz said. “You’ll never replace coach Oddo. He’s one of the best coaches not only in North Carolina but in the country. He’s in the top 1 or 2 in the last 50 years in North Carolina. Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to work with him for (11) years and gain a lot of experience and learned how he runs things. No one will replace him and I won’t try. Our motto is ‘Protect The Tradition,’ and the kids see what he’s built and we take pride that next year we’ll going to try to continue to build on that.”

Brodowicz said five or six of the 10 assistant coaches are scheduled to return. A few may retire or will make a decision later. One thing the staff will have to prepare for, he said, is a little more wide-open offense. Catholic attempted 71 passes in 2013. That figures to change.

“We have to play to our strengths, which is running,” he said, “but if we have to throw the ball to win the game, I would like to be able to throw it. In the past, with our style, when our offense gets behind, Catholic gets behind the 8-ball real quick. Now, hopefully we’ll be able to give them a different wrinkle, instead of running 32 trap and Cross Buck to go down the field. If we have to throw it 30 times to win, I want to be able to throw it 30 times to win the game.”

Wertz: 704-612-9716; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr
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