Mike Rader will begin his eighth season with the Bucs’ receiving core in the fall of 2022 as Coach Quarles retains him on staff to handle wide receivers.
Rader concluded his seventh season with the Bucs following the fall 2021 season, including his fourth season as the Offensive Coordinator in 2021. Rader held the role of OC from 2018-2021. Prior to becoming the Bucs’ Offensive Coordinator, Rader was ETSU’s Recruiting Coordinator from 2015-18.
The 2021 season was one for the record books as ETSU tallied a program record 11 wins, thanks in large part to a potent offense. The Bucs put together their best offensive production since the return of football in 2021, recording a program-record 5,319 yards of total offense, 32 rushing touchdowns, 425 points, 32.7 points per game and 53 total touchdowns in the fall season. Not to mention, ETSU saw the second-most yards per play (6.1) in a single season and second-most yards per game (409.2) in a single season, all under the watch of Rader.
Rader’s offense enabled the Bucs to claim their first outright SoCon title and the second title since 2018. The Bucs also earned a spot in the FCS Playoffs, claiming the No. 7 overall seed and opening the event with a second-round win over Kennesaw State.
Under the direction of Rader, the Bucs have spread the wealth at the receiver position in the seven-year span. Rader has seen 26 different wide receivers reign in at least one catch during their careers, while 15 different receivers have accounted for the 47 touchdowns by a receiver in seven seasons. In the Rader era, the Bucs’ receivers have accounted for a total of 806 receptions, 10,164 receiving yards and 47 touchdowns in 76 games played.
In the spring season, Will Huzzie and Malik Murray paced the Bucs with a combined 96 receptions, 1,179 yards and 10 touchdowns. Murray, a transfer from Georgia Southern, left his mark on the Bucs, while Huzzie continued his dominance that began in 2019. Huzzie now ranks 8th all-time in receptions (106) and 10th in receiving yards with 1,438. In the 2021 fall campaign, Rader oversaw Huzzie haul in the 6th-most receptions in a single season with 58 and the 10th-most receiving yards with 798. Both of those marks are the highest total by a receiver since football resumed in 2015. Huzzie now leads Rader’s receivers in career touchdowns with 10.
Rader has also coached the likes of Dalton Ponchillia (59 rec., 863 yards, 5 TD) as well as Drake Powell (86 rec., 1,090 yards, 4 TD) and Kobe Kelley (77 rec., 1,002 yards, 2 TD).
Rader has coached 27 All-SoCon honorees in the last four seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Bucs. Rader also coached Huzzie to the 2019 All-SoCon Freshman Team, the first wide receiver to receive a conference postseason honor since Cecil Moore in 2001.
Prior to coming back home to Johnson City, Rader spent 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 USA South Athletic Conference giving Maryville its highest finish in the USAC after eight seasons within the league and the school’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 12 All-USA South performers and 14 league All-Academic honorees. 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.
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 two seasons, Rader’s staff brought in more than 170 student-athletes to campus after developing strategies for student-athlete searches, visits and on-campus presentations.
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 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.
Mike, his wife Lindsey, have four sons Max, Eli, Ellis and Jaxon.