Brownstown man proud of military, athletic career


Talking about his military or athletic career or being a father, Kenny Treadway beams with pride.

The Mount Carmel, Illinois, native joined the U.S. Marine Corps right out of high school and wound up serving in Operation Desert Storm and earned some medals.

He played football in high school, and then after serving four years in the military, he played at the collegiate and professional levels and also spent some time teaching and coaching.

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And nine years ago, he became a father.

The 45-year-old, who has called Brownstown home for four years, looks back on his life with gratitude.

“I got to be around some great people,” he said. “This isn’t anything about Kenny. It’s about the people that I was blessed to be around.”

He’s even more fortunate for the life he has had considering he grew up without his father present.

“I really grew up in a serious broken home,” he said. “My mom was married four times by the time I was 10, and there was no father figure in my life.”

Despite having a few partial scholarships to play football in college, it still would have been difficult to afford, so he decided to go the military route.

“I wanted to choose something that was difficult, that would be a challenge, so that’s what inspired me to join the Marine Corps,” Treadway said. “At that time, I don’t think I was even at a mature state enough to be successful in college, so I knew that it would grow me up a little bit, as well.”

In August 1990, he headed out to San Diego, California, for boot camp. Little did he know at the time, the United States was set to go into Operation Desert Storm.

After boot camp, he did 30 days of Marine combat training and then was assigned to a casualty replacement company and sent to Saudi Arabia for three months.

“At that time, there was not hardly anyone that had been to a war since Vietnam, so it was all new to our country,” Treadway said.

In 1992, he spent six months on a Navy ship. The Gulf War was over at that point, but the United States still had an overseas presence, Treadway said.

He went from Camp Pendleton to Hawaii and then spent some time in the Philippines; Thailand; Malaysia; Hong Kong, China; Perth, Australia; Mombasa, Kenya; and the Persian Gulf before returning to Hawaii and then back to California. A year later, he spent six months in Okinawa, Japan.

Treadway was an amphibious assault tank operator during his four years of service. He was a private first class when he went overseas, later was promoted to lance corporal and was a corporal when he was honorably discharged in May 1994.

He separated three months early so he could begin college and make it to football camp on time.

Treadway received a Southwest Asia Service Medal, a Kuwait Liberation Medal, a Good Conduct Medal and a National Defense Medal.

“I did not have to see any combat or do anything heroic by any means, but I was able to pick up a couple of medals that really hold some value to me,” he said.

Treadway played football for the Camp Pendleton base team and one time got to scrimmage against San Diego State University, led by its star player, Marshall Faulk.

In 1994, he started at Rancho Santiago Community College in Santa Ana, California. Then in 1996, he transferred to a school near his hometown, the University of Evansville.

He played football for the Purple Aces until the season was canceled in 1999 because of Title IX. Some players left the school, while others, including Treadway, chose to stay. He wound up coaching football at Gibson Southern High School.

Treadway finished his education degree in December 1999 and received his diploma the following May.

A couple of months later, he landed a job as an elementary school teacher in McKenzie, Tennessee. He also was the offensive coordinator for the varsity football team and baseball head coach at the high school.

“I was reached as a kid from a broken home by a football coach, and that meant the world to me, and my heart ever since then has been one to want to encourage kids, especially young men that come from broken homes,” he said.

“You second-guess everything when you grow up as a male without a father in your life. That’s just the way the dynamic flows. It just happens,” he said. “There are so many of these kids that don’t have the self-confidence and the self-esteem. All they need is just someone to believe in them. There was something that God blessed me with that gave me the opportunity to reach these types of kids.”

During his two years there, he was encouraged to get back into playing football.

“I would always be out there on that field doing stuff with the players and running the scout team for the other team that we were playing, and they would always be like, ‘Why are you still not playing?’” Treadway said.

“Basically, they kept pushing me and were like, ‘You’ve got to go try out somewhere or send something because you need to still be playing,’ and I was like, ‘You’re just messing around,’” Treadway said. “I wasn’t too much older than them, but I guess maybe I didn’t even realize that I was very decent.”

In 2002, he returned to Indiana to teach and coach football at North Posey High School. He also learned a new National Indoor Football League team, the Evansville BlueCats, was being introduced in the area. Tryouts were conducted around the country, and out of nearly 750 people, only 25 made the team.

Treadway was one of them.

He said he was surprised because at the time, he was 30 years old going against guys with college or NFL experience.

“All I ever wanted to do when I was a little boy was play professional football,” he said. “Never in a million years did I ever think that it would transpire, and I just kept believing in my heart that this is obviously something that God wants me to do. It was all due to my work ethic and my heart.”

In the 2013 season, Treadway was a wide receiver and a backup quarterback.

The night before the last game of the season in New Orleans, the kicker’s house burnt, so Treadway was told to fill that role because he had been the kicker’s holder.

He said in the NIFL, teams either kicked a field goal or ran a play on fourth down, and the goal posts were much narrower than the NFL.

In front of nearly 25,000 people, he kicked a football for the first time.

“I had no idea what I was doing,” Treadway said, smiling. “I kicked the center in the rear end, the ball bounced to the back of the end zone and the other team recovered it for a touchdown. That’s the very first time I kicked professional. Imagine that.”

Despite the rough outing, Treadway thought he would only improve with more practice. He went out to California to train with kicking coach Paul Assad and Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski.

Before the 2004 season, the BlueCats’ head coach was promoted to coach the Staten Island Xtreme, and he took three players with him, including Treadway.

In May that year, Treadway was invited to a combine workout for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons in St. Petersburg, Florida. He didn’t make the team, so he finished that season playing in Tupelo, Mississippi.

In 2005, he was one of 15 invited to a workout with the Tennessee Titans. He made the final three, but it all ended when he broke his foot and ankle. Then he returned home and got a job.

In 2008, he met a woman from Brownstown. Later when she was six months pregnant, Treadway’s agent set him up with a tryout in Cleveland, Ohio.

He was offered a contract to kick and returned home to share the news, but moving to Cleveland didn’t work out with their son, Taylor, about to be born.

The couple split up three months after Taylor was born, but Treadway has gotten to see his son every weekend since then.

“That’s my life,” he said of Taylor. “He’s my world from Friday to Sunday. Every single weekend, it’s him and I, and half the summer, it’s him and I.”

In early 2015, Treadway landed a job with Thrifty Propane and moved to Brownstown.

He and Taylor attend Freetown Church of Christ, and this year, Kenny decided to get back into coaching, leading his son’s Brownstown Baseball Association team.

Taylor plans to play flag football and try soccer for the first time, but Kenny has chosen to step away from coaching until later on down the road.

“He’s the best dad in the world because he treats me good and he gives me my favorite food (macaroni and cheese),” said Taylor, 9, a fourth-grader at Lutheran Central School in Brownstown. “He encourages me to play sports and do whatever I want to do that makes me happy.”

Last year, Taylor was there when his father was a part of the first class inducted into the Greater Evansville Football Hall of Fame.

Kenny was presented a brick paver with his name and football career information on it. A similar one will be placed on the walkway in front of a museum that’s being built.

Kenny and Taylor hope to visit the museum when it’s done.

“So someday, he can say maybe his daddy was halfway decent at something,” Kenny said, smiling.

Since settling in Brownstown, Kenny said he’s thankful to the Nehrt and Hallow families and Sharon Smith for making him and Taylor feel welcome.

“To have those type of people that treat you good, that make you feel welcome, it’s just phenomenal,” Kenny said. “They have all treated us like family. This is a place that I hope is home for the rest of time. We love Brownstown. It truly after four years to me feels like home.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Treadway file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Kenny Treadway

Age: 45

Hometown: Mount Carmel, Illinois

Residence: Brownstown

Education: Mount Carmel High School (1990); University of Evansville (education degree, 2000)

Military: U.S. Marine Corps (1990 to 1994)

Honors: Southwest Asia Service Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Greater Evansville Football Hall of Fame

Occupation: Install technician and propane delivery for Thrifty Propane

Family: Son, Taylor Treadway, 9


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