After 19 years at the helm of Robert Morris’ women’s soccer program, and also a previous coach of the school’s men’s soccer program in its early years, Pittsburgh soccer coaching icon John Kowalski was informed this week that his contract won’t be renewed by the university for the 2020 season.
The formal announcement came by way of a very short media release on Wednesday, from the school’s new Vice President & Director of Athletics Chris King.
Kowalski, the sixth head coach in program history, posted an overall record of 112-224-19 (.342) in 19 seasons as head coach of the RMU women’s soccer team, including a mark of 56-103-16 (.366) in the Northeast Conference.
RMU will begin a national search immediately to identify its next head women’s soccer coach.
And that’s all the information that was provided by a release sent from RMU.
When looking at Kowalski’s accomplishments through his soccer coaching career, they’re pretty extensive, despite his struggles in recent years with Robert Morris.
Kowalski has coached at just about every level — and we chronicled his achievements and his career on Pittsburgh Soccer Now (and previously on Pittsburgh Soccer Report) numerous times.
After playing career at University of New Haven and professionally in indoor soccer in the 1970s, Kowalski became head coach of the Pittsburgh Spirit, a hugely popular indoor team in the 1980s.
It was shortly after his run with the Spirit when Kowalski helped establish the men’s soccer program at Robert Morris (four-time NEC regular season champions, and two-time NEC tournament champions), elevating the team into national prominence. For his accomplishments with the men’s program, he was honored in October of 2000, being inducted into the RMU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Kowalski became the women’s program coach in 2002, after his run as the first head coach of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. In recent years, Kowalski coached the Fort Pitt Regiment, a National Premier Soccer League team based out of Pittsburgh until they folded in 2018.
This decade, his RMU women’s teams consistently finished middle-of-the-pack in the NEC, although they made just one NEC tournament, in 2015. That remains the only postseason appearance in 28 years of program history.