Softball coach notches 200th career win
By Kelly Kostanesky
Published: April 27, 2014
The modern era of sports is often focused on the superstar player. But every successful team needs an equally successful coach to become a championship caliber program.
Penn State Hazleton head softball coach Marty Mrozinski knows a thing or two about success. The former high school softball and basketball coach recently notched his 200th career victory in the midst of his 11th season at the helm of the Lady Lions' program.
PSU Hazleton has posted some impressive accomplishments under Mrozinski's guidance over the last 10 years.
The Lady Lions held a 132-54 record in the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) prior to this season and made eight straight trips to the Final Four at the PSUAC State Championships.
They've won two PSUAC titles and an Eastern Conference championship and received an at-large bid to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) National Tournament in 2010, where the Lady Lions finished sixth.
Despite the success under his tutelage, Mrozinski said recording 200 career wins as a coach is more about the players to him.
"Goals for me aren't as important as the success of the team. I tell players it's their time," he said. "Wins and losses will come with the performance on the field. (My career record) doesn't mean as much as the full success of the team."
Mrozinski's humble approach to the game dates back to his days as head coach at MMI and Bishop Hafey, where he posted a 75-51 career mark. He feels his job now is to give his players the best direction he can, but let them play the game and create their own success.
"We use positive reinforcements. We allow them to go out and play. I feel my job is to prepare them to the best of my ability and that prepares them for success," he said. "It's for their benefit. If they follow my directions, it leads to success on the field. I
feel in my 11 years at Penn State we've accomplished that. I focus on teaching the players to become better players."
PSU Hazleton assistant coach Rich Lipinski has been a member of Mrozinski's staff since his first season on the job and also spent three years as an assistant with him at Bishop Hafey. He said Mrozinski is always focused on the players - both on and off the field.
"He always has the kids' interests as students above their role as players. That is most important to him. It's not just about softball, it's about the students," Lipinski said. "One of his favorite sayings to the team is he doesn't win games or lose games, it's just about getting better."
Mrozinski has received four Coach of the Year awards over the last 10 seasons and is PSU Hazleton's all-time wins leader. Both achievements are big accomplishments at a university like Penn State Hazleton, which is continuing its drive to add more four-year degree options.
"(PSU Hazleton) went from a two-year program to a four-year program and we grew with that. I've been fortunate with the recruiting. I spend a lot of time contacting players that I think will want to come to Penn State Hazleton," Mrozinski said. "We were fortunate with the players who've chosen to come here. We've had continued success and built a tradition of success based on what we've done here; that attracts good players."
The Lady Lions (20-10 overall, 10-4 PSUAC through April 23) were a virtual lock to make their ninth consecutive trip to the playoffs with just two doubleheaders remaining on their regular-season schedule. They were also making some noise in the USCAA and spent much of the season ranked in the top five.
"We're almost assured of making the playoffs for the ninth straight season. We're at the top of the USCAA standings and we're No. 4 in the coaches poll and we're looking to advance to (the USCAA Championships in) Akron," he said.
Mrozinski seemed primed to start on the path to another 200 wins but, as always, his focus for the future was on the overall success of the Lady Lions' program and not his individual accolades.
"We want to work hard on recruiting and continue to approach the game as we have in the past," he said.
- News and Events