Bay High’s Shane Kowalski named Region III soccer coach of the year
By Joseph W. Gex, II
Jan 31, 2014, 17:57
For some, coaching is a learned skill after years of study and mentorship. For others, it is just inherent. For Shane Kowalski, there is no doubt that it is the latter.
Kowalski has been named Mississippi Coach of the Year and the Region III Girls Competitive Coach of the Year by US Youth Soccer.
He was recognized for the honor and as a finalist for the national girls coach of the year on Friday, Jan. 17 in Philadelphia, PA, at the US Youth Soccer Workshop which was held in conjunction with the NSCAA Convention.
Kowalski began his soccer career as a member of the U-6 Bay St. Louis Scrappers some 37 years ago. Yours truly was a teammate of Kowalski’s on Hancock County’s first-ever soccer team. He was a natural at the sport and did things on the soccer field that were 15 years ahead of his time.
We started playing at the same field that the OLA Crescents now call their home field. As best as we can remember, the field was not a quality field like it is today but back then it did not matter. We just wanted to play. And play Shane did.
He played for the Bay High Tigers and later William Carey University. Now, he is a highly successful coach for the sport he loves. He is a girls coach in US Youth Soccer in Mississippi and serves as a para-professional coach for the Bay High Tigers boys’ squad.
Kowalski commented, “What an honor, especially since the nomination comes from the parents of the players that I coach. I have been blessed to have been involved with such a great group of players and parents.
“More important than receiving any award is seeing your players reach their goals. Most of our players started playing club soccer with the goal of receiving a college scholarship. Every one of our U-18 players have received scholarship offers to play next year. And, many of our U-17 girls have committed already. It has truly been an honor to be involved with these teams and their parents and this sport.”
Kowalski currently holds a USSF “D” coaching license and continues to attend workshops to advance his knowledge of the game and coaching education.
Looking back over Kowalski’s career as a player and coach, I was amazed at what he could do as a player. And, now, I am just as amazed at what he does as a coach. As a player back then, I was blessed to be a part of his team for so many years.
Today, we marvel at what players can do with a ball as an extension of their foot.
I offer to those who never saw Kowalski as a player, you missed the show of a lifetime