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BK’s Caldwell will retire as principal; Brennan steps aside as football coach

The following story appeared in the December 16 Idaho Catholic Register.

Coach Tim Brennan will retire from coaching, but stay on at Bishop Kelly as dean of students and assistant athletic director. (Courtesy photo/Darin Oswald, The Idaho Statesman)

BOISE – Two of Bishop Kelly High School’s most noted leaders and teachers announced upcoming retirements in the last week.

Mike Caldwell who served as principal for the last nine years and as a teacher, coach and vice principal for eight years before that, will retire at the end of this school year.

Coach Tim Brennan, who coached the football team for 27 years, bringing home six

state championships, will retire from coaching, but will stay on at BK as dean of students and assistant athletic director.

Bishop Kelly President Bill Avey called Principal Caldwell “a trusted confidant, friend, and advisor. Mike will be missed, but I am confident that he will continue to have a positive impact on education and the broader world as a whole.”

Caldwell said he not sure what he will do after he completes his 17th year at BK next spring. “While it’s still unclear what I’ll be doing next in my next chapter, I know that Bishop Kelly will be in great hands and will continue to flourish far into the future,” Caldwell wrote in the school’s newsletter. “I believe that schools and organizations can benefit from changes in leadership, and I also know that I’m ready for the next challenge in my career. As I move on to new adventures, I am excited to see Bishop Kelly prosper under new leadership.”

Recent years have been exceptionally challenging for Caldwell, with the COVID pandemic and the tragic death of his son, 16-year-old Braden Caldwell, a BK student, from an automobile accident on June 12.

Mike Caldwell

“I will leave with nothing but the fondest of memories for the amazing people I’ve been able to work along-side, pride in the many things we’ve accomplished as a team, and with great satisfaction in the educational experiences we’ve provided to the thousands of students and families that we’ve served along the way,” Caldwell wrote.

President Avey said Caldwell was “truly a BK renaissance man, from his start as a coach, progressing into teaching, followed by a stint as vice-principal, and most recently the last nine years where he has led the school as principal. At each step of this journey, he has made BK a better place and left an indelible mark.”

Avey said Caldwell “is a transformational leader,” citing initiatives such as the Challengers retreat/mentorship program for freshmen and his leadership of the PATHS organization that provides support for homeless students in the Treasure Valley. He said Caldwell “was both the visionary and the primary laborer” in the construction of Our Lady’s Garden, the BK Mountain Bike Track, and the outdoor classroom adjacent to the St. Teresa of Jesus Chapel. He made the Catholic school a leader in technology and was instrumental in the creation of a centralized counseling space, an advanced machine shop, and new traditions, including the Silent Knight fundraiser, the Parade of Champions, and Academic Excellence Week. “Simply put, Mike is the embodiment of this culture that we call The BK Way,” Avey said.

Coach Brennan began his coaching career at Weiser High School as an assistant football coach from 1982-91 before assuming the head coaching position at Bishop Kelly in the fall of 1992, coaching until 2007 when he took a coaching position in Pittsburgh, Penn. He returned to Idaho in 2010, coaching one year at Caldwell High School and returning to BK in the fall of 2011.

At BK, Coach Brennan accumulated a 232-61 win-loss record, including six state championships, six state runner-ups (including this year), and more than a dozen conference championships.

“While he certainly won an incredible number of games, banners, and trophies, it is the relationships that he develops with his players and coaches that really sets Coach Brennan apart,” the Bishop Kelly newsletter stated.

Brennan tells his players that WIN stands for “What’s Important Now.”

The Idaho Statesman profiled Brennan in its Dec. 10 issue calling him “one of the most decorated high football coaches in Idaho history” who developed BK football “into one of the state’s premier programs.”

Brennan told The Statesman that it wasn’t the victories and championships (including back-to-back state title in 2004-05 and then three in a row in 2013-15), but the relationships that meant the most.

“The thing that is most rewarding is when I see on Facebook a former player of mine getting married or becoming a dad,” he said.

“Bishop Kelly is an unbelievable community,” he said. “The school itself a strong community, and our football program is a family.” He said there are several kids on the teams whose dads he coached and whose moms he taught.

Avey said searches for a new principal and football coach will begin in the next few weeks.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.

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