Brad Maendler back where he belongs

After playing his college football at Bemidji State in Minnesota, quarterback Brad Maendler embarked on a career in sales and he’s risen to National Accounts Director for Corporate Visions, Inc.

But when he started coaching his son’s youth football team, Maendler caught the bug. “I had so much fun doing that,” he said. “I guess I didn’t know I’d end up coaching quarterbacks at the high school level, but when things started going down that path it was pretty exciting.”

In 2009, Maendler served as a volunteer coach at Hudson High School in suburban Cleveland. The next year, he became a full-time member on the Explorers’ staff as the quarterback coach, and Maendler’s offensive expertise has helped Hudson advance to the Final 16 in the Ohio state playoffs in each of the past three seasons.

“We’ve played some tremendous football in that time,” he said. “We have a bunch of smart, hard-working kids that are good athletes and are a lot of fun to coach. It’s been a blast.”

NFA an ‘amazing experience’

In addition to being on the sidelines at Hudson, Maendler has been coaching with NFA since 2009.

“Getting connected with then QBA, now NFA, and being able to learn under people like Darin Slack, Will Hewlett, Dub Maddox and JC Boice, it’s been an amazing experience,” Maendler said. “I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in the five years I’ve been with this organization. My passion for this position and the training that I’ve had and the experiences I had playing has really shaped the way I do this.”

When he’s coaching with NFA, Maendler is able to inject much of the high-level instruction he does with the Explorers. And when he’s at Hudson, he taps his valuable NFA experience.

“One of the things I always talk about that is right out of the NFA playbook is the whole concept of being a thermostat and the ability of a quarterback to really change the temperature in a room and by extension, change the psyche of a team and their level of performance and commitment to doing things the right way, playing for each other and playing like brothers,” Maendler said.

Having experience playing football at the collegiate level gives Maendler a big edge in the coaching game. “I really love watching kids get better and improve,” he said. “I think so much of what we do as coaches is giving them a road map for life success later. This is like a practical application, doing something that they love to do that is going to be a great process and approach for them to have life success. NFA has been unbelievable for that.”

Coaching quarterbacks is particularly appealing to Maendler, considering the position is vital to the football team’s overall success. “Our guy has his hands on the ball every play so it’s critical that they are able to make great decisions, they can make the throws we need them to make,” he said. “We’re always assessing what our guys do best and how does that marry up with the offense we run?”

Coaching college-bound QBs

At Hudson, Maendler is coaching quarterback Mitch Guadagni, who already has a flood of Division I collegiate offers as he prepares for his senior season with the Explorers. Before Guadagni, he coached David Nelson, who was a preferred walk-on at Indiana, and Rich Piekarski, who is now a standout free safety at Duquesne.

Growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota, Maendler first caught the coaching big from his father. “He was just one of those guys that had that amazing ability to have competitive teams,” he said. “My dad taught the fundamentals, and the kids had fun and learned how to compete. It didn’t matter if he had a great team or an average team. He was so consistent. I saw him have such an impact on so many kids, so that was probably my biggest motivator for becoming a coach.”