Head coach Tod Kowalczyk enters his seventh season at the helm of the Phoenix in 2008-09. Under his guidance, Green Bay is one of just 25 teams in the nation to place among the top four in its conference each of the past five seasons.
In 2002, Kowalczyk took over a Green Bay program that had an RPI rating over 270 and was coming off three consecutive losing seasons. Under Kowalczyk's direction, Green Bay has restored its strong basketball tradition, picking up 92 victories during his tenure. Over the past five years, Green Bay has averaged better than 16 wins per season while playing in a league that ranks among the nation's top 12 in RPI.
Despite the toughest schedule in school history and injuries to several key players, the Phoenix tallied a 15-15 record last year and tied for fourth place in the Horizon League standings at 9-9.
In 2006-07, Green Bay posted 18 wins, the most by a Phoenix team since the team went 20-11 in 1998-99. Green Bay freshmen and sophomores played an average of 132 minutes out of a possible 200, easily the most of any team in the league.
In each of Kowalczyk's first four seasons, his teams finished higher in the Horizon League standings than the preseason polls had predicted. Included in the accomplishment was the freshman-dominated 2005-06 squad, which came in third despite being picked to place seventh prior to the season.
Green Bay's second-place finish in the 2004-05 conference race under Kowalczyk was the team's best in nearly a decade, since the undefeated 1995-96 league championship season. With a 12-1 record in single-digit games, Kowalczyk's Phoenix earned a reputation for poise under pressure.
The 2004-05 team placed two Kowalczyk products on the All-Horizon League teams, first-team pick Javier Mendiburu and second-team choice Benito Flores. The selections marked the first time a pair of Phoenix players earned all-league honors since 2000.
During the 2003-04 campaign, Kowalczyk orchestrated one of the nation's top single-season turnarounds in just his second year at Green Bay. The rise of the Phoenix to 17-11 was among the top 10 improvements in the NCAA in 2003-04. Despite being picked to finish seventh in the preseason league poll, Kowalczyk and the Phoenix vaulted to third in the league standings, posting the team's best finish in five seasons and the most wins in conference play in eight seasons.
Kowalczyk was named the fifth head coach in the history of Phoenix men's basketball on April 25, 2002. The De Pere, Wis., native returned to Northeast Wisconsin to fulfill a lifelong dream of coaching the Phoenix.
It didn't take long for Kowalczyk to stamp his signature on the Green Bay basketball program both on and off the court. In his first season, the Phoenix soared from consecutive years as the seventh-ranked rebounding team in the Horizon League to the league leader, by following Kowalczyk's mantra of toughness and sound fundamental play.
Also in 2002-03, the team posted a grade-point average above 3.0 in the classroom for the first time in four years.
Kowalczyk has amassed two decades of collegiate coaching experience. He came to Green Bay from Marquette University, where he served as an assistant coach. While with the Golden Eagles, Kowalczyk coordinated efforts that outfitted consecutive top-25 recruiting classes in Marquette uniforms.
In 2001-02, the Golden Eagles finished Kowalczyk's last season ranked in the top 10 nationally, tallied a 26-7 overall record, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Marquette followed up with a Final Four appearance and a 27-6 mark in 2002-03.
"Coach Kowalczyk worked with me every day," said Marquette All-American and 2006 NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade. "I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for him."
Kowalczyk embarked on his coaching journey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 1988 on the heels of a prosperous collegiate playing career with the Bulldogs. While playing under former Phoenix assistant Dale Race, Kowalczyk earned all-conference and team MVP honors, leading UMD to four consecutive national tournament berths.
Kowalczyk graduated from UMD in 1989 with a bachelor of applied sciences degree in health education and physical education.
Two seasons on the coaching staff at the University of New Hampshire were followed by a two-year stint at St. Anselm College, where Kowalczyk and the Hawks advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Kowalczyk returned to the Division I ranks with Rider University in 1993. The Broncs played in an NCAA and an NIT tournament during Kowalczyk's four years in Lawrenceville, N.J. He earned his master's degree in education administration while at Rider.
Before joining Tom Crean's staff at Marquette, Kowalczyk spent three years coaching in the Big East Conference at Rutgers, including one season as associate head coach. Kowalczyk helped land two recruiting classes ranked among the top 15 nationally that led the Scarlet Knights to consecutive NIT appearances.
Well-respected among his coaching peers, Kowalczyk was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Ethics Committee in 2005.
A standout prep star at De Pere High School for coach Jake Orlowski, Kowalczyk still holds the school record, with 53 points scored in a single game for the Redbirds. Tod is the son of Rod Kowalczyk, longtime coach and athletics director at De Pere.
Kowalczyk and his wife, Julie, have two children, Race (1), and Rose, who was born in July 2008. They reside in Dyckesville, Wis.