Where Are They Now -- Mike Hardiek


Published on May 5 2020 7:02 am
Last Updated on May 5 2020 7:26 am
Written by Millie Lange


Athletics for Mike Hardiek was "a great way to build work ethic, discipline, teamwork, goal setting and many other positive traits that help, not only on the court, but in all parts of life," said Hardiek. "They helped make me into the person I am today. And, several of my closest friends now are former teammates."

Hardiek is a 2003 graduate of Teutopolis High School where he competed on the Wooden Shoes basketball team four years, two on the varsity squad, and ran track his junior and senior years.

"My dad had an interest in sports, in particular basketball," said Hardiek. "We spent countless hours in the backyard playing basketball. My sister, Vicki Klingler, played basketball at T-town and then in college at Illinois. We went to plenty of games when I was younger and my interest grew from that."

Although Hardiek didn't set any records in high school, it was another matter entirely at the college level. Hardiek went to Lincoln Land Community College where he was a two-year starter and leading scorer for both seasons. His sophomore year, the team tied the school record for wins and is now a member of the LLCC Athletic Hall of Fame.

Then it was on to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville where he was a two-year starter. He was the leading scorer and rebounder his senior year. His junior year, the team broke the school record for wins and advanced to the NCAA Division 2 Elite Eight. That team is now in the SIUE Athletic Hall of Fame.

Hardiek majored in Computer Science and is now a software engineer at GDC Integration in downtown St. Louis. He lives in Troy.

"I had an interest in computers since we got our first one in grade school," said Hardiek. "Problem solving has also been an interest of mine. Combine the two and you have software development."

Hardiek remembers games from his high school career and, of course, the ones that stand out are beating rival Effingham St. Anthony.

"Beating St. Anthony in the regional championship in 2002 and 2003," said Hardiek. "We had a great rivalry and the atmosphere at all of our games was incredible.

"My college memories include beating Southern Indiana, our biggest rival, in the Region Tournament championship game to advance to the Elite Eight. It was a wild game that we eventually won in overtime to beat them for the third time that year."

Hardiek, who is married to Suzanne and has a daughter Kennedy who is turning three in May, talked about advice he would give athletes.

"The best thing you can do is just practice, practice, practice. Put the time in and you will get the result. If you aren't practicing, someone else you will play against likely is. Also be coachable. If your coach is being hard on you, it means they think you can be better and want you to succeed. Don't make excuses, Use that coaching as motivation to improve.

"You don't need extraordinary athletic ability to make it far in sports. Work harder than your competition. Also, don't take anything for granted. Your time as an athlete is almost guaranteed to be very limited. Treat every practice and every game like it is your last because eventually, you will have your last one and wish you could go back. Don't give yourself a chance to have regrets that you could have been better."

Basketball is still Hardiek's favorite sport but he's a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan and follows the NBA and NFL.

"My favorite is basketball although my knees don't let me play in men's leagues anymore," said Hardiek. "I follow the NBA and NFL but don't have a particular team that I root for."

Hardiek finished up with those instrumental in his success as an athlete.

"My family, in particular, my parents, Vic and Mary Ann Hardiek, were instrumental to my success. My parents somehow made it to all but a handful of my games and in many games I had a crowd of people there. I am extremely thankful to all of them for their support.

"I also want to recognize the fact that I was blessed to have amazing coaches at every level that I played at. Ken Crawford, Andy Fehrenbacher at Teutopolis, Chad Jones, Mack Thompson, Jim Augenstein at LLCC and Marty Simmons, Mark Allaria, Marcus Belcher, Ron Jones at SIUE.

"They all helped me immensely, both on and off the court. They pushed me extremely hard to reach my full potential and I couldn’t have had nearly the success I did without their help. At times the coaching seemed harsh, but it all was worth it. I would just like to say a big thank you to all of them as well."