Local basketball teams successfully assisted by former players
St. Mary’s Athletic Director, Scott McGlade, was facing a difficult situation. The school’s fifth and sixth grade boys were ready to begin the J.V. basketball season but he was still looking for an experienced assistant coach. His search ended when the news reached veteran players Thomas Tarske, Ryan Burke, and Bob Salowitz. Upon hearing the news of a possibly having to cancel the season, all three St. Mary Pinckney alumni committed to volunteer to coach.
Thomas Tarske, a 2013 Pinckney High School graduate, and current Washtenaw Community College student explained, “My dad told me that the team was in need of an assistant coach so I stepped up to help. My brother is in sixth grade, and I knew I could make an impact on the team. Initially, I returned to coach my little brother in his favorite sport, but I wound up achieving more than that. I learned that it is important to be a good role model because the kids look up to you whether you know it or not.”
Bob Salowitz, a high school senior shared, “I enjoy giving back to the community. My family has been involved with St. Mary basketball for many years and I wanted to be a part of that tradition.”
Although the three assistant coaches began the season with the intention of teaching their young charges, they all said that their young players taught them as well. Ryan Burke, also a senior noted, “This team helped teach me patience. I was able to grow in this virtue and enhance my leadership abilities. Having an opportunity to grow in patience and leadership is incredibly important as I will need to refine both these qualities throughout my life.” Rob Salowitz, the head varsity coach remarked, “I think when the players hear something from the high-schoolers, it has a different perspective – it helps bridge the gap between the coaches and the players.”
Salowitz said it is not unusual for players to return to help coach, but “This year, things have stepped up a notch. I have 5 former players, now in high school, helping coach. I can’t tell you how cool it is to have these boys around to help us. Not just because of the extra help we have, but more importantly, because we are seeing these boys become responsible young men who are stepping up to help in the community and to give back to their school. Having coached these kids since they were in elementary school it is great to see them grow to where they are now.”
Principal Veronica Kinsey pointed out, “We have a great sense of volunteerism both at St. Mary and beyond in our greater Pinckney community. These young men stepped forward to help which meant giving up their part time jobs and a significant amount of free time all for the benefit of these kids. We are extremely proud of their sacrifices and commitment to the players on the team.”