Passion and purpose define him. Commitment and his players guide him. When you attend a Spring Hill College soccer game, you’ll see how.
Spring Hill College men’s soccer head coach, Steve Wieczorek, was recently named to the annual list of the City of Mobile’s 40 Under 40 by Mobile Bay Magazine. 40 Under 40 is a program designed to recognize 40 of the top individuals younger than age 40 who demonstrate leadership, professional excellence and a commitment to the Bay area community.
A native of Bayonne, New Jersey, Wieczorek was nominated and ultimately named to the list for being the longest tenured and winningest coach in Spring Hill College men’s soccer program history. He led the team to their first NCAA tournament and they finished with their first ever National Top 25 ranking. In 2017, he was named Spring Hill College Mentor of the Year. He also holds a premier diploma and advanced national goalkeeping diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Sports Management from Troy University.
We sat down with Coach Wieczorek to talk about this honor and find out more about what motivates him on The Hill.
SHC:Is coaching something you've always wanted to do? And was there a mentor or someone you looked up to who you aspire to emulate as a coach?
SW:I have always loved playing sports and being around the game so I think it was kind of a natural progression to be involved as a coach at some level. Growing up I was always around my uncle, who was an amazing soccer coach, and his teams so I picked up a lot of how he worked with the players and how they respected and looked up to him. My parents were always extremely supportive of me in sports and everything as well. Still, pursuing the college coaching pathway can be long and at times unforgiving, but it was made easier because of their love and assistance. Now, I also have the support of my wife, who is the best teammate that I could have, especially on days when I don't come home with a win.
SHC:What do you find coaching at Spring Hill that sets the College apart from other schools/teams?
SW:My players without a doubt. Without great players and people, coaches are not successful. We have tremendous young men in the soccer program and it makes it a joy to come to work and be with them on a daily basis. I am also a Jesuit man myself. The tenets of Jesuit education not only make Spring Hill College stand out, but all of the institutions across the world give students the chance to learn, grow and reach their fullest potential in an environment unlike any other educational framework.
SHC:You keep making SHC history as a coach. What are your goals for the future for you as well as for your team?
SW:The players are the ones making the history. I am here to help, support and guide them to achieve whatever goals they set for themselves. But to the question, my personal goals are to continue to grow as a coach, learn from my mistakes and improve each and every day. I want the same for the players. If we can do this together, I am confident that we will another conference championship or go back to the NCAA tournament soon enough.
SHC:How do you feel about being named one of Mobile's 40 Under 40?
SW:I am truly honored. It is very humbling to share this distinction with so many incredible, talented and innovative individuals, both past and present. To represent my family, Spring Hill College and AFC Mobile [minor league soccer team] in this way, I hope that I can continue to prove that I am worthy of being part of this tremendous group of people.