The new athletic director at Army West Point will be a familiar name to most Saint Ignatius fans.
Mike Buddie '89 has been selected to lead the Black Knights' 28-sport collegiate athletic program.
"Mike has a proven track record in leading organizations and developing teams," United States Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams said in a release on Thursday. "He exemplifies the ideals of this institution and he knows how to win in accordance with our values."
Buddie previously served as the athletic director at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, starting his role with the Paladins in 2015.
A 1993 graduate of Wake Forest University, Buddie worked for the Demon Deacons as an associate athletic director and the director of the varsity club following a stint as a professional baseball player with the New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers. Buddie pitched in 87 games in the MLB from 1998-2002, winning a World Series ring with the Yankees in 1998.
Wildcats fans will remember from his days at Saint Ignatius in the 1980's. Buddie's athletic prowess helped carry the Wildcats into the state and national spotlight. Buddie guided the Football Cats to the program's first-ever OHSAA State Championship in 1988. Equally gifted on the mats, Buddie secured state titles in 1988 and 1989, helping the Mat Cats capture the school's first state championship in March 1988.
And don't forget his outstanding baseball skills, which translated to a memorable career in the pros.
His three-sport stardom also won the respect and admiration of his classmates, who voted him as the Wirtz Athlete of the Year for the 1988-89 season. Ten years later, Buddie was voted into the Saint Ignatius Athletic Hall of Fame.
"Mike is one of the most special athletes we've ever had at Saint Ignatius High School, but also one of the guys I've ever met at Saint Ignatius," said Athletic Director Rory Fitzpatrick '88, a former teammate of Buddie's. "Seeing what he did professionally after going Wake Forest, then coming back into athletics, it's been tremendous to watch. It's not a surprise to me that he keeps moving up and up in the world of collegiate athletics. He is an amazing personality. He's a very smart guy who is a great leader. He clearly knows what he's doing. Anytime he shows up at a school, he does great work for them."
Dating back to Buddie's days at Saint Ignatius, his leadership skills and bright future have always been evident.
Just ask his football coach, Chuck Kyle '69.
"Mike is the right man for the job. He'll do a great job. Army is getting a special person," Kyle said. "He's an incredible leader and person. He's always had good leadership skills. As a coach, you could sense that when he was 16 years old. He did a wonderful job at Furman, creating a wonderful atmosphere and a winning culture. He'll do the same at Army."
Fitzpatrick is also excited to see Buddie succeed with the Black Knights.
"He's a bright, friendly, smart, personable guy. He clearly knows what he's doing. Anytime he shows up at a school, he does great work for them," Fitzpatrick said. "It's great to see Saint Ignatius alumni enjoying so much success in the athletic realm. When I get a chance to talk to Mike, I love getting feedback from him and learning more about what kind of things he faces. It's a whole different game at the collegiate level, but sometimes, that can trickle down and help us, too."