RBC’s Bauman will feel at home under the Golden Dome
Kevin Bauman always knew he wanted to play Division I football. The fact he will be doing so at a school that encourages his Catholic faith and just happens to have the most storied program in college football, only makes it that much better.
By Rich Fisher | Correspondent
The talented Red Bank Catholic junior gave his verbal commitment to Notre Dame University, Ind. in June, assuring that his entire education will have been gained in parochial schools.
“Going to Catholic school, I’ve loved everything about it,” said Bauman, who went to Lincroft’s St. Leo the Great in grade school. “Being able to pray in school and openly talk about your faith, or talk about any faith, wearing the uniforms, the education, I love everything about it. I obviously can’t speak for public schools since I never went, but there’s just a certain way we do things at a Catholic school.”
Which is important to a football player who is not just there to play football.
“I constantly say that my faith is the most important thing to me in my life,” Bauman said. “Just growing up with it, obviously getting it from my parents, my family. As I got older, I really began being serious about it. Going to Catholic school my whole life, it’s something that has made me the person I am. I take it very seriously, I love it.
“[Going to ND] really puts everything just above and beyond. It’s almost like a dream come true,” he said. “That [it’s a Catholic school] is just an added bonus and something that means a lot to me and my family, personally.”
The football legacy isn’t too shabby either, as it ranges from Knute Rockne and the Gipper to the current team, which is ranked No. 6 in the nation after the Sept. 29 win over Stanford.
Growing up the son of an Irish dad, and having a mother whose family also rooted for Notre Dame, Bauman was destined to grow up being and ND fan. When Caseys coach Frank Edgerly said the Irish coaches wanted to talk to Bauman, he felt “that was awesome. It was very humbling.”
Bauman got offers from such Power 5 schools as Michigan, Texas A&M, North Carolina, Rutgers, Syracuse, Boston College, Northwestern, Vanderbilt and several others. He considered them all but after making that first trip to South Bend last spring, the decision was easy.
“Once I visited, it just felt like home; I knew that was it,” he said. “It was incredible. Obviously, you hear things, you see pictures, but nothing compares to seeing the campus in person and seeing the [Golden] Dome, the chapels and churches.”
And while that is something to anticipate in the fall of 2020, Bauman’s focus is presently on the Caseys. RBC carries a 5-0 record into the Oct. 5 much anticipated clash with undefeated Long Branch. Red Bank Catholic enters the contest averaging 40 points per game. It opened the season with a 41-14 win over St. John Vianney, which snapped the Lancers 38-game winning streak against Shore Conference foes.
“The rivalry between us is big, obviously that game had a lot of energy, a lot of hype around it,” Bauman said. “But the big thing is worrying about us. If we did our jobs and took care of our team first, winning the game and breaking their streak would come with that. Our main focus wasn’t necessarily the streak; it was about us, and everything else takes care of itself.”
That has been the Middletown resident’s attitude since he started in the Lincroft Flag Football League before moving on to play tackle for River Plaza.
“I started playing sports before I can even remember,” he said. “I think that helped me to keep that athleticism as a bigger kid. Being active as a very young child really played a big role in just being able to maintain that coordination.”
Bauman went from receiver to tight end with River Plaza, where he began to learn the nuances of the position. It paid off quickly in high school as he started for RBC as a freshman and caught four touchdown passes.
“Going in, I was very optimistic,” he said. “Not necessarily expecting to start, just going in and saying, ‘I’m gonna work hard, do everything and just see what happens.’ It was never really like a thought, I just kind of focused on playing football.”
Last year, he grabbed 14 passes for 231 yards and five touchdowns, and this season he has four receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown. He also does his share of blocking, which comes with the position. At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Bauman has a mirror image for a teammate in 6-5, 225-pound junior tight end Charlie Gordinier.
Bauman, who said he couldn’t imagine playing for any high school coach other than Edgerly, feels the Caseys are capable of big things if they continue to take care of business.
“We really have a lot of work to do,” he said. “But we said it from the beginning – we really have a special group of guys, a special coaching staff. If we just focus on our team, focus on doing our jobs, we can be something very special.”