Nowak takes over Tecumseh varsity softball team
By MICKEY ALVARADO
Jeff Nowak has taken over Tecumseh High School’s softball program, replacing Kristalyn Musselman, the Indians’ two-time Division II state championship softball coach.
Muselman and the Indians gained back-to-back Division II state titles in 2007-08.
“I’m excited and looking forward to a great year,” said Nowak.
The new coach has set a goal of attaining another state softball title. He’s happy with the players he has his first season saying, “I coached a lot of them in little leagues so I know a lot of them. My daughter is a senior, she’s not playing softball but has a lot of friends on the team.”
In addition to coaching little league softball, Nowak said a majority of his experience is from coaching basketball at Lincoln, where he is a high school math teacher.
His assistant coaches are Mark Rowe and Paul Kane.
“I spent a number of years there coaching girls and boys, varsity and JV,” said Nowak. He also coached two years of boys JV basketball at Adrian High School and also some basketball at Pinckney.
“I have some softball and baseball coaching experience at Lincoln, JV experience, and the last eight years I’ve coached a lot of travel softball,” Nowak added.
The Indians’ two starting pitchers will be Kayla Kormos and Emily Maves.
“They’ve had good seasons behind them,” said Nowak. “Maves looks to be our horse right now. We’ll look to her to be our number one, for sure.”
Tecumseh has slotted five on the pitching staff.
“Maves and Kormos are our fast pitchers,” said Nowak. “The other three will hopefully compliment them as they have more off-speed stuff, more junk as you call it. Hopefully, between the two speed pitchers and the other three we can keep people on their toes.”
Nowak said while he oversees all aspects of coaching the team, the pitchers work with specific coaches to hone their particular skills.
“I just oversee what they are doing,” said Nowak. “I’m not going to tinker with that stuff. In terms of batting and fielding, I’m on top of that.”
The coach feels the team is already making good progress despite not having played a real game yet.
Katie Martin will be the team’s main catcher but besides the pitchers and catcher nothing is set in stone for the starting lineup.
“I think the ones who are set for sure right now are Mattie Wright and Katie Kaliszuk, who will spearhead the left side of the infield at short and third, as they did last year,” said Nowak. “McKenzie Rowe will be in center field, most likely, and Kylie Hill will definitely be in right field, as I see it now. After that, we have a couple spots up in the air, right now.”
He added that positions might change during the early season, depending on how well each player does at any given slot.
Tecumseh’s new coach feels the Indians will be very productive at the plate, having several players return this season.
“We’re going to have a pretty solid lineup, one through nine this year,” said Nowak. “I’m pretty confident we’re going to put the ball in play and score some runs. We’re going to bring some pressure on other team’s defense, that’s for sure.”
Last year, Musselman led the Indians to the district title and into the regional final before ending the season with a record of 33-8.