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Legacy of Mr. Majkowski

Past players discuss impact from guidance of coach

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Legacy of Mr. Majkowski

Mr. Joe Majkowski poses alongside three of his past players turned coworkers.

Mr. Joe Majkowski poses alongside three of his past players turned coworkers.

Mr. Joe Majkowski poses alongside three of his past players turned coworkers.

Mr. Joe Majkowski poses alongside three of his past players turned coworkers.

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In 1977, Mr. Joe Majkowski began coaching high school basketball, and four years later he became a teacher as well. Now, more than forty years later, he has impacted the lives thousands of students and players. Some of his players have even returned to follow his example and are currently teachers and coaches.

Mr. Quinn Hayes, literature teacher and varsity basketball coach, played basketball for Mr. Majkowski between 1994 and 1995. During that time, Mr. Hayes had one of the best experiences of his life.

“He inspired us to not only play basketball the right way, but to carry ourselves as good players and good people as well,” said Mr. Hayes.

During Mr. Hayes’s basketball career, he played as a guard and had plenty of memorable games.

“There was one game at Palatine, where we were down 16 points and there were only four minutes left in the game and we made a last second shot to win the game,” said Mr. Hayes. “It was a fun experience because even in the face of defeat we were still able to overcome challenges.”

After the amazing time he had playing basketball under Mr. Majkowski, Mr. Hayes was determined to be a coach one day just like him.

“I saw the inspiration that he gave to the student athletes he taught and I wanted to do the same for my students,” said Mr. Hayes.

Mr. Jason Kuffel, Athletic Director, began playing for Mr. Majkowski in 1998 and stopped in 1999. Mr. Kuffel was a guard and a captain his senior year. Mr. Kuffel vividly remembered the fun times that he had while playing for Mr. Majkowski.

“It was fun to see whenever he would get animated and fired up at a game because he was usually very calm and collected, and we would all laugh about it afterwards with him,” said Mr. Kuffel.

While playing for Mr. Majkowski, Mr. Kuffel learned an abundance of skills which helped him not only as a player, but also as a person. The most important of those was patience.

“He taught me to be calm in situations of high stress and intensity,” said Mr. Kuffel.

Since Mr. Kuffel has worked as an administrator, his relationship with Mr. Majkowski has continued to grow.

“It has been different since I played here and we have continued to grow together as I went from a young high school student to being his peer here at Saint Viator,” said Mr. Kuffel.

Another Viator alumni on staff is Mr. Kurt Paprocki, a Spanish teacher, who played for Mr. Majkowski between 1998 and 2000. Mr. Paprocki was a guard and post player while playing for Mr. Majkowski, and their team finished second in state during his junior year. Mr. Majkowski acted as a role model for Mr. Paprocki and his teammates.

“He was like a father figure to us and he taught our team how to compose ourselves and to act like adults,” said Mr. Paprocki. “He made sure that everyone on the team was included, from the star players to the bench players.”

Mr. Paprocki makes sure that he follows Mr. Majkowski’s example as a teacher by trying to include and motivate all of his students.

“Even as a teacher he taught me to look at all of my students positively whether they excel in Spanish or they aren’t as good,” said Mr. Paprocki.

Since Mr. Paprocki returned to Saint Viator as a teacher, he learns more about Mr. Majkowski everyday.

“Every year I go on the Kairos retreats and I am very lucky to be matched up with him and it is nice to still have a relationship with him as an adult,” said Mr. Paprocki.

Mr. Majkowski retired from coaching basketball in 2011 after a 35 year career and was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame in 2012. He continues to work at school as chairman of the counseling department and serves as a guidance counselor, while also being an associate to the Viatorians. Over the years, Mr. Majkowski has had a profound impact in the Saint Viator Community, and he continues to make a difference in any way that he can.

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