Like a soccer ball, Andrew Sadowski’s coaching career keeps rolling along, and the wins keep piling up.
And then a day like Monday happens.
That was when Sadowski picked up his 300th career win, courtesy of Southold’s 6-1 defeat of host Smithtown Christian.
So Coach, what is it like being a 300-game winner?
“It looks one more different than 299,” he said. “How’s that?”
And with No. 300, there may have been a sense of double relief.
“I’m happy that the milestone’s over because I know it was in the back of people’s minds and whatnot,” he said. “I honestly didn’t think about it. I’m thinking that was a good win and now we have established a case for ourselves to qualify for the playoffs. That’s honestly what I was thinking about. Then, oh yeah.”
Oh yeah, Sadowski is the third-winningest active coach in Suffolk County. He holds a 300-139-25 record in his 27 years in charge of the First Settlers. That leaves him behind only Brentwood’s Ron Eden (385-60-28 entering this season) and Sayville’s Val Winter (316-109-31 entering this season), according to the Suffolk County Soccer Coaches Association.
Sadowski ranks 10th on Suffolk’s all-time list, headed by the legendary Robert Muir. Muir coached Mattituck during a remarkable 39-year career that spanned from 1937-75, compiling a 509-52-33 record.
Sadowski is Southold’s winningest and longest-serving boys soccer coach, having long surpassed the school’s second-winningest coach, Dick Osmer (135-93-35).
“It’s an incredible accomplishment, certainly, when you look at the coaches and current coaches who have 300 wins,” said Sadowski, who became the 10th member of Suffolk’s 300 Club. “I’m very proud to be a part of their company.”
Suffolk County Soccer Coaches Association vice president Al Ellis said the association will honor Sadowski for his achievement in the fall.
Sadowski, who played for St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset and Marist College, was originally hired to be Southold’s junior varsity coach, but a late change opened up the varsity job before the 1994 season. He recalls his first win as Southold’s coach in 1994. It was a 1-0 non-league victory over Riverhead. He probably couldn’t have imagined that 299 more wins would follow.
As it turned out, Monday’s League V match was also significant in terms of Southold’s playoff prospects. Southold was holding onto a 2-1 lead in the second half before picking up its game and pulling away. Freddy Palencia and his cousin Daniel Palencia were credited with two goals each, while Justin Uguna and Connor Wilinski each added a strike. Ricardo Lopez picked up two assists and Wilinski had another.
Smithtown Christian athletic director and coach Pat Nieto presented Sadowski with a game ball afterward. That ball now sits on a shelf in Sadowski’s classroom. He teaches global history to ninth-graders and participation in government and economics to seniors at Southold High School.
With the result, Southold closed the regular season with a 4-4-2 record, 3-4-1 in league play. Sadowski said he would be greatly disappointed if Southold isn’t given a place in the Suffolk Class C playoffs. Sadowski wants to see his team in the county final April 17 at Diamond in the Pines in Coram.
In Southold’s previous season in 2019, it won its first county title since 2015, its eighth county title in the last 15 years and 22nd at the Class C or D level since 1978.
Sadowski said that along with assistant coach Lucas Grigonis and junior varsity coach Richard Pisacano, the trio probably has over 75 years worth of soccer experience among them.
Hey Coach Sadowski, it would take only 209 more wins to catch up to Muir. What do you say?
“That’s not going to happen,” he said. “I don’t mean to be a downer, but it’s not going to happen.”
SOUTHOLD BOYS SOCCER COACHES
1. Andrew Sadowski (27 years), 300 wins, 139 losses, 25 ties
2. Dick Osmer (22 years), 135-93-35
3. Craig Osmer (seven years), 82-42-8
4. Gene Maiorana (three years), 48-10-4
5. Bob Feger (two years), 40-6-1
6. tie, Eddie Greco (one year), 14-4
6. tie, Joel Volinski (two years), 14-1-7
Source: Suffolk County Soccer Coaches Association