Zirkle Blakey III
Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond is a unique school. Located the in city, the school has traditionally had a difficult time fielding a competitive football team. New coach Chad Hornik is set to change that. Like the school, Hornik is unique, having a different background than most football coaches. Sure he has plenty of experience on the football field, from playing in college, semi-pro and coaching on the high school level – but Hornik is also the owner of The Melting Pot Restaurant, which adds something to his resume that you don’t see with the average high school football coach.
“We are going to build something special at Thomas Jefferson,” Hornik told VirginiaPreps.com. “We have already had 55 kids sign-up for the team, without even having a meeting.”
We asked Hornik why take on the challenge at TJ? He responded “There is a great opportunity here to have an impact on young men’s lives. It is more than winning football games, though we expect to do that as well.”
The enthusiasm in Hornik’s voice was obvious and he added “This is most excited I have ever been about football, but we realize we need help. I estimate we need about $150,000 to put these kids on an even playing field with the local competition. Our locker room and weight room conditions need huge improvements.”
Hornik has quickly assembled what he calls a solid staff, saying they share his passion and outlook for TJ. “You are only as good as your staff. I have reached out to people in the community to find those that are trying to help others in their day-to-day lives and they will be bringing that same focus as assistant football coaches to the young men here at Thomas Jefferson.”
Thomas Jefferson’s football team has not won a game since the 2007, and its overall record over the past seven seasons is a dismal 1-69, but new coach Chad Hornik does not seem deterred and is using the Vikings recent lack of success as a motivator. “The program’s past is one of the big obstacles,” Hornik said adding “Convincing the local community to see TJ as an institution capable of having a good football program is a challenge, but one we are willing to undertake. Coach Hornik was an assistant at Glen Allen the past two seasons, coaching the team’s quarterbacks. He started his coaching career as the receivers & special teams Coach with the Virginia Hornets Semi-Pro Football Team in 2001. Then Coach Hornik moved to the High School level in 2003, when he accepted a position with Douglas S. Freeman where he coached their receivers, quarterbacks, running backs, and special teams. During his last season with Freeman, he helped lead them to their first playoff birth in 13 years. In 2008, Coach Hornik accepted the Head JV Coach position at Deep Run and he was also their Offensive Coordinator and Special Teams Coordinator. Coach Hornik was a three year starter with the Virginia Hornets semi-pro football team in Richmond. During College he was Captain of the Track Team and was a Pole Vaulter and a Sprinter. While in the Army, Coach Hornik also competed on the All-Army National Track Team and had a personal best of 17’6” in the Pole Vault. Prior to college, Coach Hornik started at quarterback for 8 years and won several championships.
Coach Hornik is the Proprietor of The Melting Pot Restaurant in Gayton Crossing Shopping Center and also owns part of eight other locations across the country. Coach Hornik is married to his amazing wife Kathleen Kelleher Hornik and they have two daughters!