Justin Maddock is not going anywhere.
But he is coaching a new soccer team.
Maddock was named the Central Hardin girls’ coach last week, replacing Chris Wilk, who stepped down after one season.
He leaves the Bruins’ boys program, where he has been the coach since 2015.
“It was easy to consider (making the change), but it was definitely a tough decision to make overall,” Maddock said. “Being the girls head coach for Central is one of the jobs that crossed my mind a while back. I do like coaching the guys’ game, speed-wise and their athleticism. The boys’ side is so talented every year. That one definitely opened at the right time and it worked out really well.”
Maddock spent the 2014 season as the John Hardin girls’ coach.
“Justin’s decision to come over to the girls program and take over as head coach ensures that the girls’ soccer program will continue at a high level,” Central Hardin Athletic Director J.C. Wright said. “Justin has coached many of these girls at the club level and has helped many of our soccer players in their development. He leaves the boys’ soccer program in very good shape for the next head coach.”
Admittedly, the timing under a normal year would not have been good.
“A normal situation would have made this decision extremely, extremely hard,” Maddock said. “I don’t know how I would have made this decision to switch in a normal situation because I would have felt like I was letting the boys down with their development.”
High school sports have been on KHSAA’s Segment 3 because of the pandemic since June 29 and that was extended through Aug. 23 in Tuesday’s Board of Control meeting. Practices are subgrouped into 10 players or fewer in groups of 50 and are limited to six hours per week.
The first soccer game, originally slated for Aug. 10, is now Sept. 7. Practice will be extended to 7½ hours Aug. 24-30 with no hour limit starting Aug. 31.
“I think what’s going on is going to help both sides,” Maddock said. “Both teams are working on conditioning and ball touches and I still get to do that the next two weeks with the boys. I don’t think the boys are losing much development and the girls aren’t gaining a tremendous amount with me taking the job now considering we’re doing the same stuff until the end of August.”
There was one huge consideration in taking the job — family.
“I definitely don’t want to ignore that fact,” Maddock said. “I coach because I love to coach. I’ve been coaching since I was 16, 17 years old, even before I was done playing. At some point I envisioned my daughters (ages 9 and 6) playing at Central Hardin and at that point it made total sense to coach the girls’ team because of incredibly valuable family time. If I was still coaching the boys, on game nights I would be rushing from practice to be involved in the girls’ game. I look forward to the idea of enjoying those moments with my daughters and her friends.
“Overall, that was the biggest thing. I didn’t know what was going to happen and when it opened last year it crossed my mind a little bit. I was definitely open to being a part of the girls’ side before. I have coached some of the girls in youth. I didn’t want to play the waiting game to see if the job would open again. That wouldn’t be fair to either program.
“I feel the boys’ side deserves fresh eyes and fresh ideas and I think this will rejuvenate myself going to the girls’ side. Knowing that Chris started something good with them last year and have the opportunity to continue that through the years and do that with my family involved is pretty special.”
The Lady Bruins won the 5th Region title a year ago — beating Bethlehem, 3-2 in double overtime — before losing in the first round of the state tournament. They were the first 17th District team to win the region tournament since Elizabethtown in 2014. Central Hardin was last in a 5th Region championship game in 2013, a 2-1 loss to the Lady Panthers. The Lady Bruins won it in 2011.
“My wife (Ashleigh) enjoys this, especially knowing this makes me happy,” Maddock said. “Family-wise, this makes a lot of sense in the long run. The girls are really excited about it.”
Maddock, who was 67-43-5 with the Bruins — three 17th District Tournament titles and one 5th Region championship — feels his coaching style is a more suited to the girls.
“Like any of my job switches, I’ll take a little bit from each job and adjust somewhat, what I’ve done well and what I have not done well,” he said. “I have high expectations. I got on the boys, but I’m not a high-volume yeller. I did things in my time coaching the boys that maybe if I had a little more intensity, maybe I would have gotten a little more out of the boys. Maybe if I had less flexibility and didn’t deal with some of the things I dealt with over the years, maybe things would have been different. I like the theory to give them time to grow and make mistakes. Some of the boys would have been better off if I had yelled at them and told them how it was and made them follow directions.
“On the girls’ side I’ll be able to change a few things, but I won’t have to change a lot. My personality, overall, fits the girls’ high school program versus the boys. There are more emotions involved on the girls’ side than the boys’ side and I think I’ll get more out of the girls’ team because of that personality.”