Paul Kowalyszyn has been named Streamwood's new varsity boys basketball coach, the school announced Thursday.
Kowalyszyn spent the last five seasons in the Streamwood program learning from retiring coach Tim Jones, the last three seasons as a varsity assistant.
"I'm more than excited," Kowalyszyn said. "I can't wait to get started."
Kowalyszyn is a product of Elgin Area School District U-46. A 2004 Larkin graduate, he played two seasons of varsity basketball under coach Dom Cannata and one season for coach Joe Kain.
The point guard finished his high school career with a flourish when he averaged 25 points per playoff game to lead the Royals to their first regional title since 1995. He was twice selected to the Daily Herald All-Area team.
Kowalyszyn played for Division III Elmhurst College, but his career was cut short due to injury. While in college he began working with high school players in the off-season to improve their skills and soon gravitated toward coaching.
Streamwood hired Kowalyszyn to teach Special Education in 2008-09, and Jones inducted him into the coaching ranks at the lower levels.
Kowalyszyn was laid off by District U-46 two years later and took a teaching position at Lisle High School for two years, however, he remained a Streamwood coach throughout. He was rehired to teach at Streamwood last fall, which was good news, according to his predecessor.
"First and foremost, the staff at Streamwood loves him because he's a very, very good teacher," Jones said. "He is really patient, and that's a real big plus. When you're a head coach with the diverse group we've got at Streamwood, that's about as important an attribute as you can have. He's much more patient than I am.
"But what will really make him successful is his way of communicating very well with these kids. They light up with him. They really look up to him, and you don't find that too often in assistants. They really listen to him and adhere to what he says."
Jones helped groom Kowalyszyn for the job by allowing him to act as head coach for six varsity games last season. "I can't thank him enough because he really didn't have to do that at all," Kowalyszyn said. "I was a varsity assistant for three years, but you get a different perspective when you're the one standing up and making the decisions. It definitely helped. I feel more confident in what I can do and what the kids can do."
Streamwood fans will see an emphasis on defense from their new coach.
"People will see a more defensive mindset," Kowalyszyn said. "Streamwood hasn't always had the most talented basketball players, but we do have the athletes to play defense, It's just a matter of getting them to understand where to be on the floor. We can match up athletically, but we need to improve our basketball IQ."
Kowalyszyn has already taken steps to initiate a basketball feeder program in conjunction with elementary and middle school parents within the district, he said.