New weights coach poised to the lead the program to success
After nearly 10 years as the school’s strength and conditioning coach, William Clarke has decided to leave his position to follow his dreams of becoming a firefighter. With the help of Shawn Carver, the weights program was able to continue smoothly for the month of December in the wake of Clarke’s absence. But with the start of the second semester, the program was in need of a permanent replacement.
Head Football Coach Kevin O’Shea and Athletic Director Paul Loggan interviewed an array of potential candidates for the position. After much deliberation, Connor Karwowski was hired and began his tenure at the start of the second semester.
“I think the things that stood out for him were you could see his passion for strength and conditioning. You could hear it in his voice, see it in his actions. He came across to me as a guy who could motivate our athletes to excel. If the strength and conditioning coach is full of passion and enthusiasm and is a great teacher, that helps all of our athletic programs and that was the goal,” O’Shea said.
Karwowski originally had aspirations to work at the college level for strength and conditioning but soon discovered coaching high school students was a much more rewarding endeavor.
“I think I get more control and more access to the athletes at this high school age group. I also think there is more potential for athletes to change at this age group, which is more fulfilling to me. I can have a bigger impact on their lives,” Karwowski said.
Karwowski began his coaching career as a general personal trainer at a YMCA in Wisconsin.
“I was working with literally anybody that walked in the door. My first client was actually an 80 year old man with beginning stages of dementia, so I was thrown into the fire really quick,” Karwowski said.
After working at the YMCA, Karwowski began working for a private training facility. During this time he trained all types of clients, including Division I athletes, semi-professional football teams, firefighters, high school students and even kindergarteners. He also worked as a teaching assistant in anatomy classes at the collegiate level. His experience with high school students expanded further once he started working part-time in the strength and conditioning program at Minona Grove, a high school in Karwowski’s home state of Wisconsin.
NC’s strength and conditioning facilities are much larger than Minona Grove’s, and Karwowski is excited to utilize this space to help students.
“This school is a powerhouse. It’s a very large school; there are a ton of kids here. The more kids I have access to, the more people I can at least attempt to make a positive impact on,” Karwowski said.
Karwowski is excited to work with students, and he is looking to improve the program as much as possible as he continues to lead it in the future.
“My goal is that when we have visitors come here, I want them to feel embarrassed that their programs don’t look like this and don’t run as efficiently as ours. I don’t want any other coaches to shy away from contacting me because I’m not going to shy away from contacting them. Even if they don’t like what we’re doing in here, I want them to at least use me as a resource because I’ll adjust what we need to do per sport, per individual. I want the athletics teams here to win as much as possible and want the kids who aren’t athletes to succeed in whatever they want,” Karwowski said.
Students and faculty have only positive things to say about the first week with Karwowski in charge. Jasmine McWilliams, a senior girls basketball player participating in the strength and conditioning class this semester, appreciates Karwowsky’s enthusiasm in the weight room.
“He brings more positive vibes to the weight room. He motivates us to improve and work harder. He also knows what he’s talking about and you can tell he’s experienced,” McWilliams said.
Bradley Harrington, another senior participating in weights this semester, is a football player and wrestler and also enjoys the changes Karwowski has brought to the class.
“He’s very intuitive. I like how he’s already making the program head into the right direction. Also he’s huge and benches 700 pounds,” Harrington said.
Karwowski is pleased with his experience over the course of the first week. He is eager to continue working with students in improving their strength and conditioning prowess and in achieving their athletic and personal goals.
“The classes have run really smooth. I think most of the kids have taken to my messages and expectations really well. Coming into any program, there is going to be some push back immediately, and I’m fully prepared for that. My goal is to educate others as best as possible and hopefully the students get on my side. I’m still going to do my best that they are getting their best experience. It’s been great so far though,” Karwowski said.
-Lawrence Trowbridge and Delaney Moore