December 10, 2023
Sports - Kane County

Sports - Kane County

Prep football notes: Batavia assistant Kolowski cuts no corners

It’s a rare condition when a football coach embodies a car insurance slogan.

Leave it to Batavia assistant Adam Kolowski, whose colleagues often “go to ‘The General’ and save some time.”

Kolowski earned his nickname for his meticulous preparation and penchant for the little things, such as always having cleat cleaners handy. He arguably makes his biggest mark through advance scouting, though.

Batavia’s freshman coach, Kolowski routinely analyzes the IHSA’s weekly playoff outlook and organizes his own scouting trips and those for others on the freshman staff. He already has foraged footage of 2015 Bulldogs opponents South Elgin, Oswego and Naperville Central, to boot.

"You can never have enough film. That's all we've got to say," Kolowski said.

Batavia, which hosts Mt. Carmel in a Class 7A first-round playoff game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, landed in 7A from the earliest projections. That added a wrinkle to Kolowski’s preparation after the Bulldogs, the largest 6A team in 2013, won the 6A state title last fall.

Despite the prominence of Hudl and other online film services – plus the two-game exchange policy between opponents – Batavia harps on building its own library.

"You never know if you might get a shady film or there's plays missing," Kolowski said. "Or just the zoom. There's no wide shots or something. Coaches know what other varsity coaches want to see."

"General" Kolowski is quick to note he didn't develop this philosophy. At Batavia, at least, it's a trickle-down effect from offensive coordinator Mike Gaspari, the Bulldogs' head coach from 1985 to 2010 before handing over the reins to friend and longtime assistant Dennis Piron.

"We do the film exchange thing, too, but it's just good for being in person," Piron said. "That's something Mike had always taught me, you know. Seeing a team live is a big difference. So if you've got a chance to see them live. …"

Piron's daughter, Alex, a Batavia sophomore, joined her dad on a Oct. 18 scouting trip to Streamwood to see the Bulldogs' Week 9 opponent.

"My companion was very nice," Piron said. "It was nice to spend some time with my daughter this time of year."

With Piron now in full playoff mode, the ritual of watching other teams' games only intensifies. Because of Kolowski's own sweat equity, however, the Bulldogs can break things down from the convenience of school or their own dens.

"Coach Kolowski, he's pretty special," Piron said. "Not only a really great coach and a super hard worker, but a pretty doggone good teacher, too. So he does nice things with our AP [calculus] kids. Very proud of him."

Saturday it is: Speaking a few minutes after his team learned of its Class 7A, first-round game against visiting Hersey, Geneva coach Rob Wicinski sounded confident about the prospects of a Friday night kickoff.

"Sometimes those schools a little bit further east, they think we're in Wisconsin," Wicinski said then. "But a big school like that, I think they'll be willing to come in and play on a Friday."

If Fabyan Parkway served as the default Mason-Dixon line given the placement of Geneva (north) and Batavia (south) on opposite sides of the 7A draw, Burgess Field may as well be Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium.

The Vikings and Huskies will kick off at 1 p.m. Saturday, continuing a trend. Seven of the eight first-round games involving Chronicle-area teams are set for Saturday. Statewide, just 31 of the 128 first-round games over eight classes are slated for Friday.

Kevin Druley

Kevin Druley for Shaw Local News Network

Kevin Druley is a freelance writer for Shaw Local News Network who covered sports for the Kane County Chronicle from 2008-16