Mike Rader is entering his fourth season as the Buccaneers’ wide receivers coach and his first as the offensive coordinator after head coach Randy Sanders announced the promotion on May 3. Prior to becoming the Bucs’ offensive coordinator, Rader was ETSU’s recruiting coordinator from 2015-18.
Rader, who is a Johnson City native and played his prep football at Science Hill High School, was a three-year starter at ETSU during a career that spanned from 1998 to 2002. He served as a graduate assistant at ETSU during the 2003 campaign.
Rader's receiving group has a lot of depth as 22 different Buccaneers have recorded at least one reception and 12 have caught at least one touchdown in the first three seasons. Dalton Ponchillia led the Blue and Gold the first two seasons as he totaled 55 receptions for 795 yards and four touchdowns, while redshirt junior Drake Powell led ETSU in 2016. Powell finished with 29 receptions for 431 yards and one touchdown in 11 games. Powell recorded his first 100-yard receiving game last year when he finished with 143 yards at Mercer on Nov. 5.
In 2017, nine different receivers recorded receptions with five players registering touchdown catches. Senior Drake Powellled the group with 35 receptions for 417 yards and three touchdowns, while fellow senior Vincent Loweadded 31 catches for 408 yards and four touchdowns. Lowe and Hunter Wikeboth recorded over 100 receiving yards at Furman on Sept. 30, marking the first time two ETSU players had over 100 receiving yards in a game since Sept. 1, 2000. Lowe ended the season ranking eighth in the SoCon in receptions per game (3.4) and receiving yards per game (45.3), and was ninth in yards per catch (13.2). Andrew Heywardhauled in his first collegiate touchdown in 2017, which also marked the Bucs’ first ever touchdown inside William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium, in the 31-10 win over Limestone on Sept. 2. In the classroom, Wike became one of 10 student-athletes to earn a SoCon postgraduate scholarship as he received the Bob McCloskey Insurance Scholarship this past May.
Prior to coming back home, Rader spent the last three seasons as head coach at Maryville College.
During his inaugural season with the Scots, Maryville posted a 6-2 record and 5-1 mark within the tough USA South Athletic Conference giving Maryville its highest finish in the USAC after eight seasons within the league and the College’s first football title since MC’s Highlanders took back-to-back Smoky Mountain Athletic Conference titles in 1930 and 1931.
His 2012 USA South Co-Champions produced a dozen All-USA South performers and 14 league All-Academic honorees. Coach Rader’s squad won their final three games with a defense that paced the league in four categories. Their offense boasted the league’s top rusher while averaging 211 yards per game on the ground. His creative offense finished the season averaging over 366 yards per challenge.
Under his leadership, the Fighting Scots accomplished additional historic accolades in 2013. MC earned its first eight-win season since the 1978 campaign and only the fourth eight-win season in school history. That 8-2 overall mark and 6-1 league record earned back-to-back USA South Co-Championships, allowing Maryville’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III post-season championship as the league’s automatic bid.
Rader's 2014 squad finished the year with a 7-3 mark, while going 6-2 within the USA South. Rader led a team that posted 408.2 yards per contest, while averaging 271.5 rushing yards per game — a mark that ranked 10th nationally. The Scots led the USA South in four different rushing categories behind a stout, senior-laden offensive line that ranked 23rd nationally with only one sack per outing. That line led the way for Maryville's third-largest individual rushing effort in school history, as Trenton Shuler had 1,046 yards on 182 carries for 12 touchdowns. Shuler's touchdowns ranked him 36th in the nation.
Rader received his Bachelor of Arts degree from East Tennessee State University in 2002. A three-year starter on the Buccaneer football squad as a student, he earned a football scholarship after an All-State career as a quarterback and receiver at Science Hill High School in Johnson City.
Following graduation, Rader attained his Master of Arts degree in sports management from ETSU while serving as a graduate assistant for his alma mater. In May of 2018, Rader was in ETSU’s inaugural class to receive his Doctorate in Global Sport Leadership. He then worked for one season at Troy University in Troy, Ala., under head coach Larry Blakeney.
Prior to his Maryville stop, Rader was a former assistant football coach at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala. He coordinated the recruiting efforts and assisted the offense for eight seasons at the Division III, church-related, liberal arts school.
In 2004, Rader was selected by Huntingdon Coach Mike Turk to improve results and bring stability to a second-year start up NCAA Division III program. Rader helped the Hawks earn a 52-20 record while receiving “Top 25” votes in five different seasons.
Rader displayed significant experience in building a successful NCAA Division III program. While at Huntingdon, his Hawks developed one of the most prolific offenses in college football. In 2009, Huntingdon was the only offense in the nation (Divisions I, II, or III) to average over 300 yards of passing and 200 yards of rushing per game. As the Hawks’ recruiting coordinator for the past two seasons, Rader’s staff has brought in more than 170 student-athletes to campus after developing strategies for student-athlete searches, visits and on-campus presentations.
Mike, his wife Lindsey, have four sons Max, Eli, Ellis and Jaxon.