Three Former NFL Players Coach Football at NDA


Lily Arkens, Staff Writer, Journalism I

School has been in session for only a few weeks, but the football team has had months of practices and a few games. The coaching staff includes some familiar faces around NDA. 

But three coaches on the Triton coaching staff aren’t just familiar with the school; they are familiar to the general public because of their professional playing careers. 

California native, Coach Jarrett Bush, a former defensive back for the Green Bay Packers, is on the coaching staff because his son joined the team. He stayed in Green Bay because “of the warm community” and his two daughters. He is currently engaged to the love of his life.

Wisconsin native, Coach Jim Flanigan, is a former defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, and Philadelphia Eagles. While he has known the Rader family since his son James was in 7th grade and Andrew Rader and James played on the same Allouez Buccaneers team, he doesn’t exactly know how he ended up as a coach. It was one of those “I’d be happy to help when I can” situations and then he “just kinda fell into it.” 

Texas native, Coach Chris Francies, a former wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, landed on the Triton coaching staff when he drove past the field and saw the boys practicing. 

“I wondered if they needed any help, so I stopped to talk to Big Coach Nowak. He told me to come back tomorrow.” And when he arrived back for practice the next day, he was on the staff. 

Both Francies and Flanigan coach the Varsity squad. Flanigan is an assistant coach coaching the defensive ends with Coach Max McHugh, a former Triton player. They work to improve the defense week after week. Francies coaches the wide receivers and defensive backs. 

“I really like to focus on the fundamentals. Even at the NFL level, there is a huge focus on fundamentals in every practice,” said Flanigan. 

Francies “hopes to one day see them [the boys] being successful young men in the community.” 

Bush said his particular job or role is “to be a positive role model for the kids while being present and engaging with students with the utmost respect.” 

Bush also works with the freshmen alongside Coach Daniel Kriegl and Coach Nate Hoerning. 

Flanigan and Bush are nothing but complimentary about the NDA coaching staff. 

“What’s even more impressive is the way they all work together and care about the players and the program,” said Flanigan. 

Bush called his experience “a great opportunity to work with such a good coaching staff to put on the best product possible in a winning fashion.” 

Coach Flanigan won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2000 primarily  because of the Flanigan Foundation. This foundation raises awareness for early childhood literacy issues, primarily in the Chicagoland area. His first biggest program was The Great American Book Drive which attracted a lot of attention. 

“I was fortunate to get to know Walter in Chicago, and he was everything everyone said he was,” said Flanigan. 

Flanigan and Bush both have sons at Notre Dame Academy–sophomore James Flanigan and Bush’s son Alex Thomas, a freshman.