"There were a lot of qualified individuals that applied for this position. Justin's resumé immediately stood out from the rest," said Harper Director of Athletics and Fitness Doug Spiwak. "He has had unique experiences that will help him to build a program based on excellence in the classroom and on the court. After meeting with him, I was so impressed with his level of enthusiasm and professionalism that he became the clear choice for the position."
A passionate, student-focused professional with experience and proven success, Welke is excited about the opportunity to coach at the college level. He served as the boys varsity basketball coach at St. Joseph School in Wilmette for over three years (2010-13) and most recently as the boys varsity coach at Roycemore High School in Evanston. Welke also is a head coach at RMG Hoops, a premier AAU travel program based out of the north side of Chicago.
"Interacting with kids with different backgrounds has really prepared me for this opportunity to help bring kids together as a team and expand the face of Harper basketball," Welke said.
Welke feels honored to be following in the footsteps of Amarino, an NJCAA Hall of Fame coach with over 300 wins at the junior college level.
I'm excited to build on the sturdy foundation that coach Amarino established over several years here at Harper," Welke said.
Welke describes his coaching style as very interactive with both his assistant coaches and players. He draws his coaching inspiration from coaches who are strong teachers of the game of basketball. His biggest coaching influences are legendary high school coach Bob Hurley, legendary college coach John Wooden and current Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Welke graduated with honors from Northwestern University in June of 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering. Additionally, he graduated with honors and obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Illinois at Chicago in June of 2013. He is currently a practicing dentist at the Arlington Heights Dental Group.
"I think he will connect with our student-athletes on several levels. He is a student of the game and a role model for aspiring athletes. He will show our students what they can accomplish with hard work and determination. He is well-organized and determined to bring success to our program. This is going to be a very exciting time for Harper basketball," Spiwak said.