From the football field to the front office: Get to know Roncalli’s new principal

By Jacob Musselman

Kevin Banich, principal of Roncalli High School, poses for a portrait in his office. Banich has been around Roncalli for more than his time as principal, he attended the high school as well as was the assistant principal prior to becoming principal. ( Photos by Jacob Musselman)

Kevin Banich is a familiar name around Roncalli High School. He’s done everything from walking the halls as a student, teacher, football coach, assistant principal and now, the head honcho. But stepping into the principal role, he had to put another love of his on hold… Coaching.

Now that Banich is the principal, he wanted to put everything else he was involved with at school to the side so he can do his best as principal. But he still uses his coaching mindset in his new role.

“When I was the offensive coordinator, we ran an up-tempo, no huddle offense,” Banich said, “And I’ve said this repeatedly that this job [as principal] is like an up-tempo, no huddle offense.”

He said not everybody understands the football world and the lingo but being a principal is a very fast job.

“There’s so many things happening on the football field. You have 22 guys all moving in different directions but now, I have 82 different teachers moving in different directions with nearly 1,100 students.”

His new position as principal doesn’t come from being at the right place at the right time, but from years of work, indirectly and directly contributing to his role now.

Banich graduated from Roncalli in 2009 and has been around the Roncalli world since grade school, where attended Nativity Catholic before coming to high school. He also had an older brother who attended Roncalli as well.

“There’s a lot of people from Roncalli that never leave the bubble,” Banich explained, “And I think I’m becoming one of those people.”

After high School, he attended Ball State to pursue a degree in architecture, one of Ball State’s more popular tracks. But after thinking about his future more, he changed his major to social studies education. Upon graduation, Banich received a call from then-Principal Chuck Weisenbach about a part-time physical education and social studies teaching position.

“I started teaching here in the fall of 2013 part time.” He said. “I was coaching track, I was coaching football, leading senior retreats and then eventually moved into a full time social studies position.”

A few years into his full time position, he wanted something more than to just be a teacher and coach. Opportunities for more schooling became available and that’s where Banich returned to Ball State for his masters degree. With that, the cards fell in his favor and he became the assistant principal of student life.

Banich shows his IHSAA Football State Championship ring he won as the offensive coordinator of the Royals when they won in 2020.

“It was never a long-term career goal to become the principal of Roncalli, but my former job was so much fun. I was teaching AP world history, I was the assistant principal of student life and I was the offensive coordinator for our football team that was very good.” Banich said. “I was at all the tables but I wasn’t at the head of them.”

He loved it all. He loved teaching, coaching and being around the school in many different aspects. In around May of 2021, former principal Weisenbach moved to the president of Roncalli, leaving the principal position up for grabs. Like he said before, becoming principal was never something he thought he would do but when the interim role became open, Banich thought it would be a good trial run to see if he would be a good fit for the job.

“It’s been rewarding and fulfilling to serve Roncalli in this role,” Banich explained.

After a few months in the role, he couldn’t turn down the offer of taking interim from his title and becoming the principal full time.

“It’s been too good of a challenge and too enjoyable to turn this down,” he said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

When asked about why he loves Roncalli, Banich said first he loves the school’s mission and how the school is more of a ‘life prep’ school in the fact they do not just focus on test scores, even though those are also important to schooling. 

“That’s a part of what we do but that’s not the end goal,” he said. “The end goal isn’t just to get kids to college, it’s to truly prepare them for life and for life that God wants them to be.”

The second thing he loves about Roncalli is the people.

“The people here are so selfless and it’s hard to not feel loved, cared for and supported,” he said. “People love the school, they love the community and they love the mission.”

He also said being around the students and faculty inspire him to do his best at his job. Thinking back to his time as a student, he remembered the moment, while on his senior retreat, that he realized that Roncalli was more than a normal school and that the faculty actually cared about their students and wanted them to succeed. That thought was something he remembered when taking the principal job. 

In his position now, Banich has future goals as principal. His first goal is to recruit and retain ‘highly-effective’ teachers he can. He acknowledged that finding good teachers can be tough now with the job market being the way it is but he wants to make that a focus in his time at Roncalli. The second goal he has is to consistently provide the best education they can so they can give back to the students who give to the school.

Banich also spoke about the infinite amount of career options for students graduating and how they don’t all have to go to college. Some may enter the workforce right away or enter different vocational careers and that there are so many more options as the Southside becomes more and more diverse. 

“We are becoming a very vibrant and diverse community, racially, culturally, socioeconomically,” Banich said. “And supporting all of that, becomes a priority for the future.”