Pictured: Mike Baklik played for H-K, was an assistant to Dennis O’Rourke and succeeded him as head coach in 2014. (Chad Giulini photo)
Mike Baklik, only the second coach in 43 years of football at Haddam-Killingworth, is stepping down after six seasons to spend more time with his family.
Baklik led the Cougars in 2018 to a school-record 11 wins and just the school’s second appearance in a state championship game. His career record is 33-32.
“It’s been a wonderful run,” said Baklik, who was voted Pequot Conference Coach of the Year in 2017. “I’ve been blessed with strong support from the school, a first-rate staff and just some great kids. I’m going to miss it.”
He and his wife, Courtney, are expecting their second child this spring. Baklik, who teaches physical education and health at H-K, did say he would still be a presence in the program.
“I won’t be totally absent from the team,” he said. “I will help out behind the scenes in any way I can. I just can’t devote the time required to be a head coach.”
Baklik took over in 2014 for Dennis O’Rourke, who launched the program in 1977. Baklik is an H-K alum who played for O’Rourke and worked as an assistant on his staff for six years prior to O’Rourke retiring. Baklik played college football at Endicott.
H-K finished 6-4 in 2017, with Baklik being voted the Pequot Conference’s Coach of the Year, setting the stage for what was to come the following season.
With Tobey Callender and Dalton Modehn fronting a devastating ground game, H-K won three of its first four before ripping off a six-game winning streak that propelled the Cougars to the Sassacus Division title and into the Class S playoffs.
H-K beat Bullard Havens Tech in the quarterfinal round and went to overtime in the semifinals, where the Cougars knocked off Stafford’s co-op team 21-14. The magic ran out in the final, where Bloomfield came away with a 25-7 win for the title.
The Cougars produced a school-record 4,061 rushing yards in finishing 11-2.
H-K was dealt a major setback this season when Modehn went out with a collarbone injury in Week 2. The senior returned in time for the tail end of the year and had a spectacular game against Coventry’s co-op team – 404 yards rushing and seven total touchdowns, both school records.
Also on Baklik’s watch, Alex Segaline broke school records for single-game passing yards (329 in 2015), single-season passing yards (1,844 in 2015), and career passing yards (3,135, 2014-16).
“I could not have asked for a better situation when I took the job,” Baklik said. “The support from both the school and the community – in particular from our Touchdown Club – has been nothing short of outstanding.”
Note: Information for this story was provided by H-K in a press release.