Rich Nowak moved to Brunswick in 1973 and has been coaching for the Brunswick football team ever since. 2021 marks 48 years since he first began his prolific coaching career. In that time, he has been the head coach twice, posted the best win/loss record of any head coach in Brunswick history, and watched the small town of Brunswick grow in ways he could never imagine.
During his long tenure as head coach, Nowak became the winningest head coach in Brunswick history, never had a losing season and led his team to two state final four appearances. Even though he is no longer head coach, many of the coaches on the Brunswick coaching staff are products of Coach Nowak.
Six coaches on the current Brunswick staff either played for or worked beneath him. One of those coaches is Daniel Valore, coached by Nowak from 2006-2009. Regarding his time with Nowak, Valore said, “It's been incredible.”
“I thought I had learned most everything I needed to know about football from him in high school,” Valore laughed, “but he’s so many levels above me in terms of our football knowledge. He definitely proves ‘young me’ wrong every day.”
While the Brunswick football team was thriving under Nowak, so was the town itself. Nowak remembered his first impressions of Brunswick back in 1973, just 13 years after the town was officially founded as a city. “I couldn’t believe how little there was here,” he recalled. “Brunswick was a mud lake and fields as far as you could see. To see what the town has become, how it’s grown, it's tremendous.”
From 1973-2010, Nowak’s career at Brunswick saw him in the roles of teacher, assistant principal and athletic director, on top of doing everything imaginable for the Brunswick football team. After nearly 40 years, he decided it was time to retire. “Just being a head coach was becoming a full-time job, not to mention all of the other stuff on my plate,” Nowak explained.
But he couldn’t stay away from the school system or the team that he had helped to build. So, since 2011, he has been on the board of education, spending the last two years as president, and the football team as an assistant coach.
When asked when he planned to step down from the football team or the school board, Nowak responded, “I want to do both for as long as I can, especially coaching. It keeps me young and I really love doing it.”
Luke Wilmot, a senior at Brunswick High School, is one of over fifty student “backpack journalists” (grades 6-12) in the award-winning BEAT Video Program. The program is sponsored by Scene75 (www.scene75.com), Plum Creek Assisted Living Community, Baskets Galore, Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund, Medina County Community Fund, Brunswick University Center, Brunswick Eagles 3505, 100+ Women Who Care Medina, and the Brunswick Rotary Club. Go to www.brunswickschoolsvideoprogram.org to learn more about the Program, or visit https://thebeat.viebit.com to view videos produced by the students.