Coach Polkowski chats with Junior Ronny Galvin during the game against Northwestern on Feb. 19. The ‘Jackets lost 70-64.
Photo by Holden Law

By Kourtney Palmi

University of Wisconsin-Superior coaches are extremely grateful individuals who want nothing but the best for their student-athletes. While each coach hopes to cap off the year with a winning season, coaches of college athletics can be active for a variety of reasons. 

Capping off his third year as head coach of the UW-Superior women’s basketball team, Zach Otto-Fisher said, “I feel in our role [as coaches] we can make a huge impact on women’s lives through basketball. I would be lying if I wasn’t passionate and wanting to compete.”  

Otto-Fisher has led the UWS women’s team to a record of 18-8 and the number two seed in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) tournament. The team, after having a first round bye, defeated Northwestern (Minn.) on Wednesday night, winning 90-83. The team is now preparing for the UMAC Championship on Saturday, Feb. 29 at Bethany Lutheran. 

Otto-Fisher believes sports teach several great lessons to his players. “They [sports] allow self-discipline, the importance of working as a team, and learning from our failures.” Mackenzie Kmecik, a senior on Otto-Fisher’s team, values how caring Otto-Fisher is. “Zach is the type of coach that cares for his players like they are family. He is the coach that will be there for his players both on and off the court.” Kmecik believes Otto-Fisher encourages the success of his players. “As a coach, Zach wants his team and individuals to succeed on the court while excelling at the game and our education. Most importantly, he wants us to succeed at all aspects of life.”  

Joe Mooney, head coach of the UWS men’s soccer team, is glad that he has the power to recruit and pick his players. “Coaching at the college level allows me to choose who I get to work with every day,” said Mooney.   

Mooney during the first round of the NCAA DII tournament against No. 14 Central on Nov. 16, 2019. The ‘Jackets won 3-2.
Photo by Holden Law

Mooney coached the men’s soccer team to an overall record of 17-3-3, capping the season off with a UMAC Championship and a trip to the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championship, losing in the second round after a 1-1 draw with No. 16 Luther, losing on penalty kicks. He also captured his second consecutive UMAC Coach of the Year title. He is in his twelfth season as head coach, compiling an all-time record of 134-76-18, making him the winningest coach in UWS men’s soccer history.  

No coach, no matter the level of competition, is doing it for the money. Greg Polkowski, the third-year coach of UWS men’s basketball, is no exception. “[I coach] by helping a group of people achieve a common goal together. Sports allow individuals to grow and succeed both on and off the court.” 

Polkowski led the men’s team to a 16-10 overall record and the number three seed in the UMAC conference tournament. The team played at Bethany Lutheran in the semifinals, losing 72-92.  
“[Sports] allow for individuals to express the best they can be,” said Polkowski.