Zionsville Times Sentinel

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July 5, 2012

Zionsville coach named finalist in national contest

Coaches, no matter what sport, always want to transform their players’ lives, and one Zionsville little league coach is being recognized for his hard work.

Mark Kowal, the coach for the Little League softball team Orange Crush, was named one of five finalists for the Hilton Hhonors Outstanding Coach Contest.

Tony Firmani, who has a daughter that has played on Kowal’s team, nominated him for the award.

“(Kowal) has a very strong Christian foundation,” Firmani said. “He’s more interested in positive attitudes and developing character than wins and losses. He goes out of his way to make each girl on his team feel special. At the end of each season, he hand writes each girl a note saying how much they meant to him and the team. He’s really helping to shape the lives of girls in the community.”

Kowal said he couldn’t believe it when he heard he was named one of the finalists.

“I thought for sure there was something (Firmani) misread or didn’t understand,” he said. “I didn’t think that a Zionsville coach could be considered for it.”

Kowal said to be named one of the five finalists was very humbling.

“I appreciated it very much,” he said. “When I look at what other people coach, they invest in the game but not lives. I want my girls to be good players, but I want them to be better girls.”

Kowal said he coaches the girls as if they were his own daughters.

“I pour every ounce of love into these girls,” he said. “I treat them like I would my daughter, and I treat their families like my family. When we’re together, we’re together as a family that just happens to be playing softball.”

Kowal said another important part of his coaching style is that he provides a safe environment for the girls.

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