Two hundred wins is nothing to take lightly. It’s represents quite an investment in time and effort. For Andrew Sadowski, it has been an 18-year journey.
The Southold boys soccer coach had an entire off-season to think about his 200th career win after the First Settlers were ousted by Port Jefferson in a Suffolk Class C semifinal in 2010, leaving him stuck at 199. Then, following Southold’s 3-0 season-opening loss to Southampton this past September, Sadowski had to wait another three days before he finally joined the exclusive 200 club, thanks to a 2-0 non-league win over Bayport-Blue Point.
“I think that the significance of 200 wins is I still want to be on the field,” he said. “I still love the game. I still want to be with [the players]. I want to coach them. I want to be better as a coach. I want to keep learning the game more.”
When the game in Bayport ended, Sadowski, standing on the sideline, didn’t show any emotion. He merely looked down at his feet and kicked lightly at the grass. Not much of a reaction, but at least one of Southold’s players, Evan Miller, sensed what the 200 mark meant to his coach.
“I’m sure on the inside he feels very good about getting 200 wins,” Miller, a junior midfielder, said. “It’s very nice to get it when I’m here. It feels good to do it for him.”
Southold added further to Sadowski’s total before losing to Port Jefferson in the county final, ending a 9-7-2 season. That left Sadowski with a 208-85-19 (.667) career record, with all of those games as Southold’s coach. He has the fifth most wins among active Suffolk coaches and ranks 19th on the county’s all-time list. (Robert Muir, who coached Mattituck from 1937-75 is the all-time leader with a 509-52-33 record).
Since his first career win (a 1-0 defeat of Riverhead), Sadowski has chalked up some big victories. He said he doesn’t know if he has a favorite, but he has plenty to choose from. There was a penalty-kick triumph in 1999 that brought the First Settlers a Southeast Region title. And then there was a game in 2001 in which Kenny Heidtmann scored in overtime to send Southold into the state final.
“Lots of good stuff,” Sadowski said, “a lot of good wins.”