To know Rick Kamrath is to know he likes his Green Bay Packer football and his Princeton Logan Lion basketball. The Packers have been his lifelong passion, and the Lions for the past 22 years.
Kamrath will be coaching his final stretch of games for Logan, aiming to retire to the greener pastures of Packer football.
Kamrath said he couldn’t have asked for a better place to coach than Logan.
“It’s just been a gold mine for kids. It’s just a dream situation for coaches, it really is. It’s just a good gig if you can get it here,” he said.
The good-natured Kamrath has been good for Logan as well.
Jerry Thompson has worked with Kamrath for 19 years. They had been opposing coaches previously, Kamrath at Ohio and Thompson at Tiskilwa. They have formed a partnership of building Lion basketball teams and character, not unlike that from decades past of the Bill Kaiser-Mike Kesseler era at Logan.
“They are the face of Logan, they really are,” Kamrath said of his predecessors.
Kamrath just passed Kesseler with his 327th career victory Monday at Putnam County. Kaiser remains No. 1 win among Logan coaches with 346 wins.
“We haven’t had a bad club go through. Not so much coaching, just good guys go through,” he said.
Thompson is going to miss having his partner in crime around.
“When you work with somebody that long you will miss them. You just rely on them being there, rely on their advice, their loyalty. He’s been a good friend,” he said.
Thompson, however, probably’s not going to miss Kamrath’s proud and boisterous allegiance to the Packers, especially on Monday mornings after beating the Bears.
“It’s pretty hard to live with him being a Packer fan. He is a diehard. Monday mornings are a little rough,” he said.
Kamrath grew up in Pardeeville, Wis., one of six boys in his family, which was close friends to the seven Bortz boys, including 1985 Chicago Bear standout Mark Bortz.
“No lack of height in Pardeeville, back in the ‘70s, just skill,” Kamrath said, noting his family much more so than the Bortz clan.
Kamrath came to Bureau County to coach at Ohio schools, cutting his teeth with the high school girls’ program before teaming up with head coach Lloyd Johnson in the boys’ program. Ohio was certainly another gold mine with the likes of all-staters Brad Bickett, Lance Harris, Todd Etheridge and Brian Piper in the mid to late ‘80s and many other Bulldog standouts.
Ohio still holds a place dear to his heart.
“Ohio was a lot of fun going through the ‘80s with Lloyd,” Kamrath said. “The people at Ohio were real supportive. it was a wonderful place to be.
While his days coaching at Logan are numbered, Kamrath won’t rule anything out for the future.
“I’ll coach again if the Packers or Badgers call me up,” he said.