MILLBURY — New head coaches always have their hands full shortly after being hired.
When new Lake girls basketball coach Joe Nowak was hired he hit the ground running, but struggled to find
time to schedule summer camps for his new team.
But he’s not worried. Nowak has put together a demanding summer schedule that will take place of the
camps as he prepares his team for his first season.
Nowak, who will become a math teacher at Lake in the fall, was 6-39 in two years as the boys head coach
at Seneca East. He was the junior varsity coach for the Tigers for the four years prior to that — his
first job after graduating college.
Nowak, a Woodmore High School graduate, replaces Jim Gracyk, who resigned after three years with the
Flyers. Lake was 38-32 in Gracyk’s tenure, including a 14-10 mark last season.
“I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of the girls already and the team has a lot coming
back from last year,” said Nowak, who held his team’s first summer practice Monday night. “I’m excited
to see what we can do here this summer.”
The summer schedule appears to be a grind. Lake, despite no camps, will attend shootouts at Bluffton and
Liberty-Benton as well as having scrimmage or open-gym type workouts with other local teams. The Flyers
will also hold individual workouts twice a week during the month of June.
“I am kind of asking quite a bit from the girls but it’s definitely hard work that pays off,” Nowak said.
“We’ve had a couple of open gyms where the girls can come in and just play,” he added. “They went a
couple months where they didn’t have a coach. I think by the time I was hired they were eager and
excited to get back into the gym.
“They played hard at the open gyms that I was able to see. We had some individual workouts last week and
I was very, very happy with the effort the girls gave me during those workouts. It’s looking promising
as far as the effort they’re going to give me throughout the summer.”
Lake expects to run a motion-offense under Nowak and with a number of key players from last year’s team
returning, he expects a high level of competition.
“We’ll run, but only if something is guaranteed. I’m not necessarily a run-and-gun style of coach,” Nowak
“There are some offensive and defensive tweaks that I have discovered along the way when working with
different people. So we’ll use some of that too.
“I expect them to compete, and whatever level that turns out to be I will be happy with. I think the
general idea from a lot of the girls that are returning is that they’re returning a pretty good amount
of talent so they expect to compete at the highest level.”