Jozwiak digs into toolbox to continue legacy of education through athletics – The Oracle


Former USF offensive lineman Thor Jozwiak (left) and the Clearwater Tornadoes have began the season 6-1 and are successful video games by a mean of simply over 15 factors. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/BOB PUTNAM

Car rides residence after a strenuous soccer observe may be robust. From the bodily toll to the psychological pressure, sitting idle after hours of onerous work and maybe arising brief could be a lot to deal with, particularly for a teen in highschool.

Compound the aforementioned scenario with a dad who doubles as your coach and who now has a couple of minutes to give a lecture, and that journey residence could seem to be an eternity.

For former USF offensive lineman Thor Jozwiak, nonetheless, these after-practice rides residence couldn’t have been higher.

A second-team all-conference member in 2015 who made 26 begins at guard in his profession with the Bulls, Jozwiak took his father’s messages to coronary heart, particularly his teachings in connection to soccer.

He had good motive to accomplish that, as his father, Brian Jozwiak, is a former NFL offensive lineman.

“The times that [my father and I] spent in that car, I’ll never [forget],” Jozwiak stated. “I’ll cherish [them] forever because he knew what it was like to make it all the way. He knew what it took to have that success.”

Roughly a decade later, Jozwiak now has the chance to take what he has discovered and move it onto the following technology. He’s at present within the midst of his first season as head coach of the Clearwater High School soccer group.

The Tornadoes have hit the bottom working to open Jozwiak’s stint as chief of this system with a 6-1 begin, together with six consecutive victories after dropping the primary recreation of the season.

“I got to learn from [my father’s] triumphs and his mistakes,” Jozwiak stated. “I’ve also had the privilege of getting coached by many great coaches at USF. Obviously, [I came] through an era where we had a lot of coaching turnover, but I always thought about [how] coaching is [like] I have a toolbox, or as a player, I had this toolbox, and everybody can add to that toolbox.”

Although Jozwiak, 28, is on the youthful facet when it comes to teaching, he didn’t instantly make the soar from participant to coach upon leaving USF.

He graduated with levels in communications and psychology however was admittedly misplaced when deciding what he needed to do after school. He briefly spent a while as a sideline broadcaster for the Bulls and even stepped away from the sport solely for a pair years.

The itch to get again into the sport by no means left him, and a telephone name along with his father pushed him to take the chance and soar again in.

“I remember the day [Thor] called me,” Brian stated. “He said, ‘Dad, I just don’t want to do this anymore,’ and I said ‘Well what do you want to do? … If you don’t make the decision now, then you’re going to be locked into something you’re not happy doing.’”

Jozwiak wasn’t certain what path he needed to take, however he knew he needed to be round soccer and have the flexibility to make a optimistic affect on a youthful technology. 

He took his shot and started reaching out to native coaches in Pinellas County in search of a chance. Coach Don Mesick, the coach of Clearwater on the time, gave him simply that and added him on as an offensive line coach in addition to a studying instructor.

“The love of football and what it does, and what it means to be a student-athlete, what it means to have a sense of culture and a brotherhood, and to be able to take that and use it on and off the field is what drove me to this profession,” Jozwiak stated. “[But] whereas I used to be educated, I used to be not educated to be a instructor.

“But coaching and teaching are one in the same. I teach reading, so instead of coaching football, I get to coach reading. Instead of talking X’s and O’s, I get to talk sentence structure and how to analyze a text.”

That drive to educate is one thing frequent not solely in Jozwiak himself, but in addition in his household. Brian, who had been an educator in Florida since 1998, just lately retired from instructing in July. Jozwiak’s mom can also be a principal and his sister is a instructor, each in Polk County.

Before making an affect within the classroom, Brian was making performs on the sector as an All-American offensive lineman at West Virginia within the Eighties en route to being a first-round NFL draft decide in 1986.

A hip harm three years into his profession ended his taking part in days and compelled him to name an audible in his personal life. The sudden change allowed him to discover a profession in instructing the place he may be round what he is aware of finest — soccer — however this time, as a coach.

“I never sugarcoated anything with either one of my kids, I told them straight up,” Brian stated. “Thor would have a foul observe or one thing and we’d get into the psychology of it, the molding of the thoughts to keep a optimistic angle it doesn’t matter what.

“You can be neck deep in it and so long as you’re breathing you can still be in the battle, no matter what that is. We got to do that every day. How do you put a price tag on that? That’s so special.”

In his first season on Clearwater’s employees in 2019, Jozwiak labored alongside Rob Montie in teaching the offensive line, however in 2020 the duty fell solely on him.

Mesick stepped down Dec. 17 after main the Tornadoes to six straight playoff appearances and an general file of 45-21, and all of the sudden the highest place was open for the taking.

Just two years into his teaching profession, Jozwiak put his title within the ring for the job and finally got here out with the gig.

Handing over the keys to a profitable soccer program at a college with as a lot historical past as Clearwater, in-built 1902, to somebody with comparatively little expertise may be jarring, however Jozwiak’s life has cast him for this second.

“I think I have the biggest medical book over at USF. That thing can probably stop a bullet at point-blank range,” Jozwiak stated. “[I] was always in the training room, always injured and always finding a way back. … Coaching, climbing, it’s all about perseverance.”

Jozwiak’s medical ebook isn’t simply crammed with bumps and bruises. In early 2013, he began to develop coronary heart points and had to go on 4 completely different medicines in an try to regain management.

That was simply the beginning of the problem, nonetheless, as he collapsed at observe through the second day of fall camp and was taken to Tampa General Hospital for additional analysis.

He had a cardiac ablation in October 2013 to restore a standard coronary heart rhythm, however it took Jozwiak a 12 months to battle his manner again onto the sector and ultimately win the beginning job he was scheduled to have earlier than the debacle.

“[That] was a rough year in my life, but without going through that, you don’t end up who you are,” Jozwiak stated. “This recreation, and the life classes you study, choosing your self up over and again and again, that’s what introduced me again to being a participant at a excessive stage.

“It was just that ‘no-quit’ mentality. You’ve got to continue to push, even when it’s at its hardest, you’ve got to continue to push.”

Although he’s simply beginning at Clearwater, Jozwiak already has some lofty objectives, together with successful Pinellas County’s first state title, and he’s digging deep into his toolbox to form this system in his imaginative and prescient.

“I don’t have to use [everything in my toolbox] all at once, but for different situations you can pull whatever you need out from something you’ve learned from somewhere,” Jozwiak stated. “And that’s what I discover myself doing on this place.

“I want to be able to win by doing it the right way. Winning is great, but when you do the little things the right way, winning comes.”