Sept. 1, 2003
Every Saturday during his Lou Groza-award-winning campaign of 2002, Nate Kaeding wowed fans both home and away. However, success came as a result of support and hard work both on the field and in the classroom.
As hard as it may be to believe for the avid Hawkeye fan, the senior place kicker hasn’t always had the nerves of steel that he has now. He harkens back to his freshman year: “I just didn’t really feel comfortable out there. I didn’t really feel as though I controlled the situation.”
Nate needed and received a lending hand from his family, friends, and coaching staff that year. “I was real fortunate to have great support around me.”
A far cry from that pressure-packed freshman season, the home-grown place kicker now lives for the high pressure situation. Nay, he thrives on it.
No more was this true than this past January in Miami. “I just had this incredible sense of comfort out there when I was playing.” He remembers not missing one single kick during the game or in preparations for the game. “It’s fun, I love it,” he said of the national stage.
Nate not only strives for excellence on the field, but also in the classroom. “Everything is interrelated,” said Kaeding describing the relationship of the successes on the field leading to successes off the field and vice-versa. “I try to be a perfectionist at everything I do.”
That being the case, he acknowledges that what he does in the classroom is just as important as what he does on the field. “With me, its everything I do, I have to do it to the best of my ability.” He pushes himself and doesn’t settle for a C when he knows he can achieve an A.
According to a press release from the official Big Ten web site, that self-discipline resulted in him earning Academic All Big Ten Team honors in 2002 just after receiving the same accolade in 2001 while majoring in secondary education. “I really pride myself on being a well-rounded person.”
Hawkeye fans have no reason to doubt that Nate Kaeding’s success both on the field and in the classroom will continue as he enters his final go-round striving for an even better season than he had last year. What a scary thought!
Written by Jared McNeill