By Marty Farmer
Thank God for "best ball" in golf. In 2013, I was invited to take part in a golf fundraiser for the Riverside-Brookfield High School athletic department. My foursome included RBHS head football coach Brendan Curtin, his brother/RBHS alum Brian Curtin, and RBHS boys track and field coach Tim Olson.
The aforementioned gratitude towards the best-ball format was our collective ability to duff and shank our shots all over the golf course at Carriage Greens Country Club in Darien. With the best-ball rules in effect, however, we actually managed a few playable shots (mostly from Brian) on each hole.
Around the 12th hole, the sky opened up and a torrential rain came down as we ran for clubhouse cover. We eventually finished our "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" round, sharing a lot of laughs and stories, drinking beer and forming a special alliance for the day.
I kiddingly referred to the four of us as, "Jack, Tiger, Palmer and Watson."
The biggest takeaway for me that afternoon was getting to know Brendan Curtin. Previously, I had covered a few RBHS football games he coached, and we would see each at other RBHS events. During our day of golf, I learned more about Curtin's beliefs regarding education, family, community, and, oh yeah, football.
That day, I knew he would be a heckuva high school football coach. In his first two years, the Bulldogs went 3-15. At least a few natives were restless. Curtin stayed the course, however, and has subsequently led the team to four straight state playoff berths, highlighted by a 10-2 record and Class 6A state quarterfinals run in 2015.
Over the last three seasons the Bulldogs are 25-7 under Curtin. He's earned the Landmark's "Coach of the Year" award at our annual Night of Champions event.
Last week, I heard the news via email from Landmark colleague Bob Skolnik that Curtin was hired as the new athletic director, officially known as the assistant principal for athletics at RBHS. On Dec. 12, the District 208 school board voted 6-0 to hire Curtin as the school's next assistant principal for athletics, effective July 1, 2018.
He will serve RBHS in both capacities next year as the head varsity football coach and athletic director. Whether Curtin will keep both jobs over the long term will be interesting. He sounds all in.
"An important part of leading coaches is to continue to be a coach," Curtin said. "I believe the shared experience makes me a credible resource for the coaching staff and will help keep me tied closely to the needs of the athletic programs.
"I'm fully aware of the responsibilities I'm about to assume."
Curtin, a 1991 RBHS graduate and Brookfield native, aspired for the head football coach and athletic director positions.
I think he's the right man for the both jobs. Curtin is a very committed, intelligent and innovative coach. Those qualities, coupled with his affable nature, will translate well from the gridiron to the athletic director's office.
The only drawback for Curtin might be less time for fun things like playing golf. Based on our performance a handful of years ago, that's probably a good thing.
Good luck, Brendan.