Icon Joe Nadicksbernd Recognized for Decades of Service
MEMPHIS—Christian Brothers University (CBU) honors the legacy of one of its greatest sports icons, Joe Nadicksbernd, with the naming of its baseball field as Nadicksbernd Field.
Nadicksbernd, or “Coach Nate” as he became known over the years, has been an unmistakable icon of CBU athletics for nearly half a century. He arrived in Memphis in the fall of 1967 from Dayton, KY. Over the last 46 years, Nadicksbernd has served the CBU athletics department as a Hall of Fame two-sport athlete, a two-sport coach, assistant athletic director, and currently as athletic director. But his ties to the school run much deeper than that. Nadicksbernd met his wife of 42 years, Carol, at CBU, and they were married in December of his senior year in what is now De La Salle Hall, just a few steps away from what would become his office for more than 30 years. In addition, their two sons, Russell and Spencer, also graduated from CBU.
His overall contributions to the school earned Nadicksbernd numerous awards including the Brother Dominic Dunn Award for Student Service in 1999, Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award in 2002 and the induction to the inaugural class of the CBU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.
Nadicksbernd made his first impact as an athlete. On the baseball field, he hit .329 with 17 homers and 104 RBI, leading CBU to four straight winning records, including a school-best 38-12 mark as a junior. On the basketball court, he scored 1,246 points with 963 rebounds. When he graduated, Nadicksbernd ranked fourth in career scoring and second in career rebounding, and his 963 rebounds are still fourth in school history.
Nowhere on campus is more symbolic of Nadicksbernd’s service to the school than the field now named after him. After all, he helped build it in the summer after his freshman year. As a sophomore, he blasted the first home run ever hit at the field. After serving as assistant coach for two years, in 1975 he took over as CBU’s head baseball coach. It was a role he would perform for 25 years, giving CBU baseball steady leadership through a time of extreme change. During this time, the school went from Christian Brothers College to Christian Brothers University, changed conferences twice and joined the NCAA Division II.
Through it all, Nadicksbernd kept a record of success, with his teams compiling a 586-559-6 record before retiring from coaching after the 1999 season.
“Joe has been part of the fabric of this University for over 40 years. He has brought athletics to its current level of excellence in every aspect. His integrity and dedication to CBU and its athletics is unsurpassed. It is only appropriate, and probably long overdue, that we honor him with the naming of Nadicksbernd Field,” says CBU President John Smarrelli Jr.
After four years as assistant basketball coach, Nadicksbernd succeeded his mentor, Bob Stephenson, as head basketball coach in 1978. During his four years, CBU won 47 games, reaching the VSAC championship game in 1980 for the second time in school history before losing by one point.
In 1994, Stephenson turned to Nadicksbernd for help again, this time adding the assistant athletic director responsibility. As assistant athletic director, Nadicksbernd helped lead the school’s transition from the NAIA to full NCAA membership. Once CBU became a full NCAA member, Nadicksbernd was promoted to associate athletic director in 1998, and he primarily handled compliance until he was promoted to athletic director in 2003.
During his time as athletic director, CBU has achieved great athletic success. The men’s basketball team won two GSC championships and reached four NCAA Tournaments, including a regional title and an Elite Eight in 2009 and a Sweet Sixteen finish in 2012. In all, CBU has won six GSC championships and sent seven teams to the NCAA Tournament.
Nadicksbernd has also led CBU to high achievements off the field, with the Athletics Department as a whole carrying a 3.0 GPA and seven student-athletes earning a top-ten finish for the Commissioner’s Trophy, which recognizes the top student-athlete in the GSC each year, recognizing excellence on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.
CBU baseball coach Phil Goodwin, a former Nadicksbernd assistant, honors his legacy annually, presenting the “Coach Nate” Award to the graduating senior who best exemplifies Nadicksbernd’s excellence on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.
For more information on CBU Athletics, visit www.gobucsgo.com. ###