A whirlwind week at McHenry finished with the Warriors bringing one of the area’s most successful boys basketball coaches back to the Fox Valley Conference.
McHenry athletic director Chris Madson spoke with former Prairie Ridge coach Corky Card in June about the Warriors’ coaching job, one Madson had resigned from to take over as AD.
At the time, there was no physical education teaching position to go with the coaching job, so it didn’t work out.
That changed at the end of July when a position opened with a resignation. Madson quickly reconnected with Card, who was quick to accept the positions. Card’s hiring was approved at District 156′s board meeting Monday night.
“It doesn’t get any more exciting than this,” Card said. “It’s great to be back in the area. Just getting back to all the connections we’ve made here. Everything I’ve come across at McHenry has been top level. To be working with the staff Chris had, I’m super excited to get it rolling.”
Card will meet with the players Thursday. Madson played and coached against Card during his 15-year stint at Prairie Ridge. Card’s Wolves teams were 251-182 with six FVC championships, five regional titles and one sectional title. He twice was the Northwest Herald Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.
“He’s looking at this as an opportunity to finish out an awesome career back home,” Madson said. “You can’t beat the track record. Getting him back in the area has so many added bonuses.
“It’s funny how fast things happened. We were evaluating and had a lot of good interview candidates. We wanted to keep it open and toward the last week of July a teacher resigned and we had an opening.”
Card left Prairie Ridge after the 2017 season and taught and coached at Dunlap for four seasons. He remained teaching P.E. at Dunlap and volunteered as an assistant at Peoria Notre Dame the past two seasons.
Card and his wife Betsy have a lot to consider as they move and find a permanent place to live back in the McHenry County area. Card graduated from Crystal Lake Central in 1984. Their sons – Logan, Brock and Griffin – are all out of high school now. Brock plays basketball at NCAA Division III Monmouth and Griffin just enrolled at McHenry County College, where he will play basketball.
Card had worked each of the past three summers with McHenry P.E. teacher John Beerbower, who teaches strength and conditioning classes. Card implemented some of Beerbower’s teaching methods at Dunlap.
So while Card was visiting early this summer, he found out about the job.
“I talked to Chris at that time,” Card said. “Last Monday, he sent me a text and said they may have some movement and we should talk. I came up Wednesday and interviewed Friday.”
Card’s Prairie Ridge teams were noted for their tough 1-2-2 ball press defense. Sometimes the Wolves extended it to full-court, other times they used it in half-court sets.
“I’m a little more aggressive than a lot of people are,” Card said. “It gives you the ability to make a lot of adjustments from full to half to being aggressive to being deceptive.
“Chris and I agree a lot on the way the game gets played. the biggest thing is what he’s done with the culture, coaching the kids. I can use a lot of what they’re doing and kind of slide in.”
Card will have an advantage with McHenry’s returning group, led by guard Marko Visnjevac, who averaged 16.7 points and hit 79 3-pointers as a junior. Hayden Stone , Adam Anwar, Caleb Jett and Conner McLean all started or saw big minutes last season and will return.
“I’ve seen several games. Chris has been a great resource for that,” Card said. “A young group that has a little bit of everything, some length, some skill kids and some depth. Who doesn’t want to walk into that situation? "
Madson was thrilled to land a coach with so much past success for the Warriors.
“We got to connect in June, and he said if we had a teaching job he’d be all over it,” Madson said. “He drove up and we went through the process and here we are.”