KEARNEY — Nate Polacek has been offered and has accepted the head girls track coaching position at Kearney High School starting in the 2019-2020 school year, Kearney Public Schools announced Monday morning.

Polacek will be taking over the role from coach Pat McFadden, who is stepping down from the role after this year. 

“I knew when Coach McFadden informed me that he would like to step down as the head coach of the Bearcats that we would have a tremendous candidate on his staff to take on this enormous responsibility," said Kearney High School Assistant Principal and Activities Director Ryan Hogue. "Coach Polacek bleeds blue and gold. As a past Kearney High graduate, he understands the passion that this community has for track and what it takes to be successful in the track and field world.”

“It has been honor and privilege to coach track and field at Kearney High,” said McFadden. “I would like to thank my assistant coaches for all the hard work and dedication they have put in over the years, the parents who are the foundation of support for this program, and the athletes who strive to be the very best Kearney has to offer in the classroom as well as on the track and field. I wish Nate and his assembled staff the very best. Surround yourself with great people and great things are bound to happen.”

As a career track athlete, Polacek was an All-Class State Champion in the pole vault for the Bearcats, a two-time All-American, six-time All-B1G XII/All-B1G vaulter at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and also helped the Husker track team as a volunteer coach during the 2012-2013 season. Coach Polacek has coached several state qualifiers as an assistant track coach in Columbus and now with the Bearcats.

“It’s an honor and fulfillment of a dream to become the head girls track coach at Kearney High,” Polacek said. “I’m fortunate to be surrounded by an incredible staff of dedicated coaches who are committed to empowering our student-athletes. I look forward to the challenge of keeping our outstanding track tradition alive while striving to be a perennial championship contender.”

“These accolades are great,” states Hogue, “but where I am most impressed with Coach Polacek is his ability to form meaningful relationships with all of our athletes. He coaches with a great deal of energy, passion and care for our athletes, and they see that. Coach gets it and understands the amount of hard work, commitment, and accountability needed at KHS to win championships. I am confident that Coach Polacek will lead the Bearcats to future championships and continue the great tradition that he inherits."