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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2019:09:06 06:03:24

RICH COX / FOR THE VALLEY ADVANTAGE Dave Piwowarczyk, Lakeland head football coach

Former Lakeland head football coach Jeff Wasilchak left a big pair of shoes to fill when he announced his retirement in 2018. Lucky for Lakeland, the team found its new chief in Dave Piwowarczyk, who can carry on the winning tradition.

Piwowarczyk recently sat down with us for a question and answer interview to discuss his new role at Lakeland High School:

How did you get into coaching?

I got into coaching about 13 years ago as a volunteer assistant coach at Western Wayne under Joe Blaum. The next year, Butch Keller asked me to help out with him, and I have been involved with coaching ever since.

Can you describe a typical day for Dave Piwowarcyk?

A typical day is hectic. My wife and I have an 8 month old boy and he keeps us on our toes. I’m also a special education teacher at Lakeland. During the school year my days become very crazy, but I enjoy every minute of the craziness.

What does your offseason look like?

I try to run the offseason in phases. I also encourage kids to play other sports. I think it is important for athletes to step away for a bit after the season and rest up and heal up. I don’t want any athlete hating a sport because of the yearly grind. Around December, we will test the kids. In January, the offseason lifting will officially start and go until July 5, where we will begin summer conditioning. Summer conditioning will last until Aug. 5.

Who has been your biggest influence thus far?

I am very fortunate to have had many positive influences in my life. Coaching wise I have had many influences. I am very fortunate to have coached with some of the best coaches in this area like Butch Keller, Donnie McDonough, Jeff Wasilchak, Colin Golden, Ryan McAndrew, Chris Benett, Mike Hemak, Ray Caucci, Tim Hess, Shane Grodack and Justin Collins. I have learned a little bit from all of them. My biggest influence present day has to be my wife though. She is a saint and has been very helpful and supportive through all of the transition.

How did you introduce yourself to the team?

I was already an assistant coach at Lakeland for the last three years prior to being named the head coach. I had built a rapport with many of the kids having coached them as a freshman coach. Many of players were at the board meeting to show support when I was hired.

Has the Lakeland community been accepting of you?

Lakeland is a very welcoming community and very supportive, I am a graduate of Lakeland and also work in the building which helps.

What was the transition like stepping into the head coach position?

Former head coach Jeff Wasilchak left the football team in great shape. It was a pretty smooth transition in my opinion. It also helps that Jeff is there to help with any questions that I might have.

How would you describe yourself?

Most times I am easy going, but very competitive. No one is harder on me than myself after a loss or a big win. I am my biggest critic.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I coached track and field for 10 years up until last year.