“My Conversation with Coach K”

Melanie Sheehan, Staff Writer

“My Conversation with Coach K”

Coach K and MHS: A Fifty Year Love Story

  • Parent beginning in 1959
  • Wrestling and Football Booster
  • Began lecturing on aviation in 1985
  • Discussed creative writing with English classes in 2005
  • First Mr. Massapequa in 2006
  • Inducted into Massapequa High School Hall of Fame in 2006


Hundreds of students pass through the gym lobby every day, each time walking by James Kovacsik, better known as Coach K.  However, one day I decided to stop and say hello to this ninety two year-old man who, with his numerous life experiences, has amassed more knowledge and wisdom than one can even imagine.  Coach K is always ready to talk to students about what’s important in life, as he did in our short conversation.

Coach K has accomplished much in his life, but he was very humble when I spoke to him, saying “We don’t like to talk about ourselves.”

 Rather, he taught me a lot about the history of our town; he has an amazing memory and his stories were fascinating. 

I did, however, learn that after spending four years in the Navy, Coach K worked for many years at TWA airlines.  About twenty six years ago, he began teaching aviation to students here at MHS.  Six years ago, he began creative writing and spoke with English classes on the topic.

Through our conversation, I could see how proud Coach K is of our high school. 

“I’ve been here since this place was built,” he said.  His daughter was even in the graduating class of 1959; which was the first class to spend four years in the high school. 

Coach K was a booster for the wrestling and football teams, and his two proudest moments here were his induction into the Massapequa High School Hall of Fame and his victory as the first Mr. Massapequa.  He has clearly earned both of these titles;

 “He is a symbol of our school spirit,” junior Elizabeth Smoller said. 

Coach K emphasized that our great school system is the reason why many people move to Massapequa.  He added that his son became the head of the drama department at NYU’s Singapore location, but he made sure that I knew he meant this as an example of someone who succeeded as a result of attending our school and that he was not trying to boast.

Coach K has remained an integral part of our school because he cares about the students and feels rewarded by being able to give everyone any advice he can.  He told me the story of a student who came to him and simply asked him about life.  Coach K imparted upon the teenager the wisdom which he has amassed over his lifetime from personal experiences.

“Do what you can with what you have, wherever you are,” Coach K said.  He emphasized that his success came from marrying a woman he adored, having a family he loved, and working hard at a career he enjoyed, even though he did not necessarily make the largest amount of money.

 “Coach K is the personification of wisdom in our school,” Spanish teacher Mrs. Schellberg, said.  “He’s a teacher, he’s a friend, he’s an advisor, and he’s family to both teachers and students.” 

Coach K has endeared himself to students past and present, and he has proven that everyone can have a great impact.

 “I’m just an ordinary person,” he said.  However, he has had an extraordinary life thus far, and in speaking with him one can see life from a unique perspective; Coach K is always there to support students and to give students advice on how to ultimately be successful people.

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