Head Coach At Westfield Since: 2014 (Served as an assistant from 1995-2013)
2018: Led the Owls to 5-5 overall record. The Owls were 4-3 under Kowalski, who missed the end of the season after a severe leg-break injury suffered during a game at Fitchburg State when play spilled off the field. Longtime assistant Sean O’Brien served as interim head coach for the final three games of the season. Running back Travon Holder and linebacker Zach Howard were both named to the New England Football Writers Division II/III All-Star Team (All-New England) and the D3Football.com All-East Region Team. Howard was named the MASCAC Defensive Player of the Year; Holder and Howard earned first team All-MASCAC honors, while offensive lineman Chris Saba was named as a second team All-Conference choice. The Owls ranked in the top 10 in the nation in time of possessesion, and led conference in rushing and rushing defense. Holder ran for more than 1,100 yards and tied the school’s career touchdown record with 38 over his four-year career.
2017: In 2017, the Owls capped the season with three straight home wins. Junior tailback Travon Holder ran for more than 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns in earning all-conference honors. He was joined on the all-league team by center Saul Cabrera, linebacker Zach Howard and safety Will Tejada. Kick returner Evan Garvey led NCAA Division III in yards-per-kick-return.
2015: In 2015 the Owls had three first-team all-conference players in Pettigrew, fullback Ryan Sweeney, and punter John Ollari. Ollari was named as a second-team all-East punter as well. Westfield State quarterback Erik Washburn set a school record with 448 passing yards in a game.
2014: Kowalski led the Owls to a 5-5 overall record and a 4-4 mark in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference in his first year at the helm of the Owls. He was named as the circuit’s Sportsmanship Coach of the Year after the 2015 campaign. In Kowalski’s inaugural season at the helm of the Owls, a number of Westfield State players saw great success. Tailback Michael Mercadante rushed for more than 1,200 yards and set a school record with 16 touchdowns in a season. Senior linebacker Troy Cutter and junior defensive back Greg Sheridan earned Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District honors, and Cutter and senior Wayne McGillicuddy were each selected to compete in post-season all-star games. Overall Westfield’s roster featured eleven All-MASCAC performers, and Mercadante and junior defensive end Marcus Pettigrew each earned all-ECAC honors.
He was named the head coach of the Owls on May 16, 2014 after serving as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Westfield State for the previous 18 years.
Kowalski became the first full-time head coach in the history of the Owls football team when he succeeded longtime Westfield State head coach Steve Marino after a 24-year run at the helm of the program
As Westfield State’s defensive coordinator with an emphasis on linebackers, Kowalski was the architect of the Owls’ outstanding defense that led the nation in total defense in 2001 and 2002, and in 2009 they led the nation in turnover margin and pass efficiency defense.
Prior to his arrival at Westfield in 1996, Kowalski coached for 14 years at Bulkeley High School in Hartford, Conn., and was the defensive coordinator for six seasons. Bulkeley was a state finalist in 1991 and had one of the top defenses in the state, allowing 5.4 points per game. In 1992 the Hartford school was ranked second in the state.
Kowalski has a wealth of coaching experience. He served as a track and field coach at Bulkeley from 1985-2013, including the 19 years as head coach. He also coached the girls’ basketball team at Minnechaug High School in hometown of Wilbraham.
Kowalski graduated from West Springfield High School in 1972 and participated in football, basketball and track and field. He played a year of football and lacrosse at UMass Amherst and graduated in 1977 with a health and physical education degree. He taught health and physical education in the Hartford schools for 34 years.