A lot of you know Mr.Koscinski. Mr.Koscinski, (also referred to as Mr.K by students) teaches a variety of classes involving engineering, cad software, and STEAM. But, what some of you may not know is that he is an assistant coach on the Girls Varsity Basketball Team, and coaches the Junior Varsity Team. I hope you enjoy the interview-Josh.
Q: Did you play any sports growing up? If so, what sports were they?
Coach K: Football, Basketball, Track
Q: What High School did you attend?
Coach K: Sharon High School
Q: What college did you attend?
Coach K: Harvard on the Mon → California University of PA
Q: What year did you graduate college?
Coach K: 2004
Q: Who is one teacher that has made a big influence on your life? What did they teach you?
Coach K: Mr. Likovich was my physics teacher in high school. Mr. Likovich continuously raised the bar and challenged his students. While learning Physics I began to ponder Philosophy. He somehow made me think of Newton’s Third Law on a deeper level. Beyond making me question how matter, energy, time, and space have cause and effect on one another, he made me think about how my decisions have an effect not only on my life but everyone connected to me. I earned an “A” when I took Physics in college. Mr. Likovich had me so well prepared, that Physics was actually pretty easy for me at the college level. This is an emphatic compliment he got from almost all of his students who took physics in college.
Q: What made you want to get into the STEAM field?
Coach K: When I was a kid, I always wanted to be an Architect or Engineer. I enjoyed the CAD courses I took when I was in High School, and thought it would be fun to teach. Hence my decision to become a Technology Education Teacher.
Q: What is one of your favorite things about the STEAM field?
Coach K: One of my favorite things is how creativity can build resilience! When a student is creative and thinks outside the box, oftentimes they will have to go through the Design Process several times before they have any success.
Q: Do you like students working on computers so much? If so, why?
Coach K: Only because it helps keep order in what can be a chaotic environment. A computer seems to hold the attention of students better than a textbook/worksheet. However, this comes with the challenge of keeping students on task and not being distracted with the temptation of games.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give the current seniors graduating this year?
Coach K: Believe in yourself.
Open yourself up to others, share your knowledge with others, and be open to learning from others.
Now, for the coaching part of the interview.
Q: How long have you been coaching the girls’ team?
Coach K: This was my 4th year with the Lady Canes under Coach Kara. Although this is my second stint with the girls, I previously coached under Coach Rankin for 3 years as well. So I will be going on my 8th year coaching the Lady Canes!
Q: What drove you to make you become a coach?
Coach K: I have been passionate about basketball since I was a kid. I love competition, and I actually enjoy the process of working towards a common goal with a team.
Q: How do you and Coach Kara find ways to keep the girls motivated?
Coach K: Line Drills! Lol, just kidding.
Coach Kara has a knack for building great relationships with her players. They know how much she cares about them, and in turn, most often her players are willing to run through a brick wall for her… so to speak.
Q: What is one thing you do before coaching a game?
Coach K: If the Flag is hanging flat, without folds, I always count the stars and stripes during the National Anthem.
I have done this since high school.
Q: After a disappointing loss against Knock in the first round, what were some things that were going through your head that game?
Coach K: During the game, I was most concerned with our Point Guard Mia Graham getting into foul trouble, and our defense closing out well on the perimeter. Mia is our motor, she controls the tempo and energy of the game. Not only does she control the offense, but her energy and effort on defense are contagious. We defend so much better as a team when she is on the court. So when she has to come off the court, it’s tough to replace. As for the closing out, Knock had 3 or 4 players that were dual threats on the perimeter offensively. If you close out too slow, they can knock down outside shots. If you close out too fast, they will probably blow right by you and penetrate. If you don’t aggressively close out under control, you are probably going to pay for it one way or the other.
After the game, I was disappointed only because no one likes to lose. However, I was very proud of our Girls. The program had not visited the playoffs in 8 years. It was a huge accomplishment for these girls to finally make the playoffs! Our girl’s focus and attention to detail of executing our game plan were pretty remarkable.
Knock was a very efficient offensive team, and our defense was tremendous. Our girls did not let them score a single field goal in the 4th quarter! However, Knock took care of business at the foul line. The girls left everything on the court, so it makes it a little easier to walk away with your chin up. We simply needed the ball to bounce our way on a couple of calls so to speak.
Q: After losing a few key seniors, what are some ways you as a coach can work with the players to fill the void of senior leadership?
Coach K: The seniors are irreplaceable. These seniors were freshmen when Coach Kara took over the program. They literally turned the program around with her. People don’t realize how hard it is to turn a program around. It’s not like pulling the E-brake on a sports car and you just whip the thing around. It’s more like trying to turn a ship around when the winds are not in your favor. These seniors persevered through a lot of storms with Coach Kara. Luckily they had an amazing coach that was always steering them in the right direction. I am proud that these girls never stopped trusting Coach Kara. When you face the hardships they have, it’s easy to just throw in the towel, but this group of seniors never did. I know Coach Kara is personally grateful to them.
Q: This is one of my personal questions. As a coach on the sidelines, what is your go-to drink and outfit?
Coach K: Lol. I drink water and simply wear what I wore to school that day.
Q: In five years, where do you see this Lady Canes team?
Coach K: In five years I think Coach Kara will have the program to a point where if they do not make the playoffs, it will be considered underachieving. I believe the lady canes will be in the conversation of competing for WPIAL Championships and making runs in the State Playoffs!
Q: As some of you may know, Aayani Hudson had a fantastic year this year, with some games showing great poise and scoring ability. What are some qualities you see in her that you don’t see other girls her age having?
Coach K: AZ is a natural talent. What makes AZ special is that she plays both ends of the court. She is not only a threat on offense but a dual-threat with her defensive capabilities. What I admire most about AZ for being a young player, is that she is a great teammate. Basketball conditioning and practice can be very grueling at times. AZ has a great sense about her teammates. When they are struggling, she is always there to lift them up and tell them “You can do it!” She may receive a lot of individual accolades for being able to put the ball in the hoop, but she is not selfish. She gets it. She knows basketball is a TEAM sport, and she shows it by being a great teammate.
Q: Favorite restaurant for after a long day of basketball?
Coach K: When you are in New Castle… how do you choose!?
Oftentimes our Coaching staff will go to Edwards, Cedars, or Steel City.
We wish Coach K the best of luck with coaching, and any future opportunities granted to him. We also would like to wish the Lady Canes the best of luck in their upcoming season, in the hopes of back to back playoff appearances.