Article and photo courtesy of Rochester Post
By Jacob Herbert
ROCHESTER HILLS — It started as a fill-in job because Rochester Adams needed a softball coach.
Now, 32 years later, and with 691 wins to date as a softball coach and 317 victories as the girls basketball coach (1991-2015), Fran Scislowicz is a member of the 1,000-win club.
The win that captured the milestone came April 25 against Rochester Hills Stoney Creek. The Highlanders were down 5-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning and went on to score 8 unanswered runs to win 8-5.
All 1,000 wins came as a Highlander, so the support from the community that he has spent so much time in is what makes this accomplishment special.
“The blessing of being able to be in one community for so long — and the support that I’ve received from the top, to the parents, and of course all the outstanding athletes that I’ve been able to coach over the years — has really made it very meaningful to me,” Scislowicz said.
Immediately after the win, support came flowing in. Scislowicz received text messages and phone calls of congratulations from former players and members of the community. Parents of current players baked him a cake, and the group celebrated at a recent tournament.
That’s what it’s always been about for Scislowicz: the relationships formed along the way. When asked for a standout moment in his coaching career, that was the first thing he noted.
“To see the kids 10 years later, the success they’re now having as young women in their careers and marriages,” Scislowicz said. “I guess that’s the ultimate thing for both sports.”
In his basketball career, the Highlanders went 71-4 in his first three years. His teams won six straight regional and district titles in his first six years on the sidelines.
With all the wins also come a lot of losses, and the determination to stick with his philosophies through down years is just the kind of mental toughness needed to reach this milestone.
“You’re not always going to have the best talent,” Scislowicz said. “Some years you’re going to hit that bottom, but if you continue to work hard and do it the old-fashioned way, you’ll come out on top more times than not with success.”
Another important piece to the puzzle was the offseason work from parents and players. Since the time and effort was already put in during the offseason, the coach’s teams could hit the ground running when the season started. All Scislowicz had to do was match the different personalities and put his players in the right spots to succeed.
No matter how easy the parents and players made his job, his assistant softball coaches — Bob Kolvedt, Toni Bisaro and Ross Nash — also played a prominent role in the success the program has experienced. On the diamond, Scislowicz’s teams have won 10 league titles and three district championships.
Adams Athletic Director Jason Rapp said Scislowicz’s teams have always been competitive.
“Fran Scislowicz delivers high energy and passion daily and has been a model of consistency for many years,” he said. “I’ve always appreciated his willingness to be innovative and apply new strategies for success, which have translated to positive results for his teams.”
Coaching was something he wanted to do since graduation at Madison Heights Bishop Foley in 1975. Scislowicz was a three-sport athlete for the Ventures, but it was football coach Walt Wyniemko who inspired him to work with youth, and as long as he still has the support, he’s going to keep coaching.
“As long as they’ll have me, I plan on staying for a little bit,” Scislowicz said.