Queens coaching legend passes away

Queens coaching legend passes away
Former Queens College baseball coach and St. John’s baseball star Tom Sowkinski passed away earlier this month.
Queens College Athletics
By Laura Amato

The Queens College athletic community mourned the loss of one of its own last week after former Knights baseball coach Tom Sowinski passed away on the golf course on May 4.

The department released a statement last Thursday, citing Sowinski’s contributions to the school’s athletics success and his enduring legacy.

“Coach Sowinski was a man of passion and love for the game and the student-athletes,” Assistant Vice President for Athletics, China Jude said in a statement. “The Queens College athletics department sends its condolences to the entire Sowinski family.”

Sowinski’s coaching career began well before his time at Queens College. He spent 15 years as the associate head coach and pitching coach at Adelphi, leading the squad to four Division II College World Series appearances and NCAA Regional Tournaments. Adelphi also notched three ECAC championships, six NYCAC championships and three Knickerbocker titles under Sowinski and, in 1996, finished third in the DII College World Series, just one game shy of playing for the national championship.

Following his time at Adelphi, Sowinski spent a season at Queensborough Community College before joining the staff at Manhattan College as associate head coach and pitching coach.

He spent five seasons with the Jaspers – helping the squad earn its first-ever MAAC playoff berth and mentoring 14 players to professional contracts.

Sowinski — who spent 23 years in the dugout before retiring — took over as the Knights’ 16th head coach in 2009, leading the team until 2013.

He also boasted an impressive playing resume. Sowinski played high school ball at Archbishop Molloy and made a name for himself at St. John’s. He was a standout pitcher, working under the legendary Jack Kaiser as the squad made two Division I College World Series appearances.

Sowinski was named an All-American in 1968 after notching a 2-0 record on the mound in World Series play and, to this day, he still holds several St. John’s records, including most wins (11) and shutouts in a single season (7). He pitched professionally in the Los Angeles Dodgers system, notching a 16-7 record in three seasons with the club’s affiliates.

Sowinski, who resided in Howard Beach, was inducted into the St. John’s University, Archbishop Molloy and Adelphi University Hall of Fames.

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