LHW: What wrestler influenced you most as a coach?
HOWIE: There have been many of them. The ones that come immediately to mind are guys like James Strouse, 4th in the country, Rob Stubs 8th in the country at Ithaca College, Matt Delorenzo captain of Columbia, Sean Kegel 2x NCAA D1 qualifier, Cartney Kurnuk who went to the University of Virginia, and Dan Mahoney at Pittsburg. Also, there is Brian Scher, who is in the honors program over at Hunter College.
Tommy Bobal, a Hofstra University product, is now my assistant, and is one of the greatest men I know. Tom Glenn who is also with us; Rob Paletta is an assistant coach at Island Trees; Ronny Serrano is assistant coach at Massapequa and was named the assistant coach of the year in 2008… In fact, Ronny and Rob have won assistant coach of the year in Nassau county for the last 3 years.
We’ve had so many great individuals. You can’t forget Gian Villante…He almost made it to the NFL, and he may. If you ask him, he’s more than willing to attribute his success in football to his experience as a wrestler.
LHW: Who has been your biggest influence as a coach? What influence did they have?
HOWIE: Ed Luksik, the former Deer Park coach who recently passed away; He was a quiet gentleman. I was a Pee Wee wrestling guy. I just respected the hell out of him, and I didn’t want to let him down. I just saw in him what I wanted to do in life. He was my inspiration to help kids through this sport. Coach Luksik helped me. I believe there’s a good chance I would have gone down the wrong road if it wasn’t for his influence.
LHW: What are you most proud of as a coach?
HOWIE: With the success of this program there is so much that I am proud of. However, if I had to pick a single significant achievement, I suppose it would be that I know that when a kid leaves my wrestling room, I know that they have been properly prepared to go and achieve greater successes in life.
This program has helped kids get into many great schools around the country… We have Steven Delorenzo at Brown; Matt Delorenzo who was a captain at Columbia, Steve Savin a member of the Princeton, Adam Malano a graduate of Brown, etc…The list goes on and on.
College coaches call me all the time and thank me for the values I’ve instilled in my former wrestlers. In some cases, they may not have been the most talented recruit, but their work ethic, enthusiasm, and sense of team spirit so contagious that it turned around the room.
That’s what it’s all about. This is why I do it.