The man affectionately known as "Coach C" has decided to call it a career.
Long-time Simpson head softball coach Henry Christowski announced his retirement from coaching late last week, closing a career that began at the prep level more than 45 years ago. The two-time national champion and Hall of Famer retires as one of Division III's winningest coaches, going 624-212-2 in 20 seasons.
"I hope our coaching staff tries to model themselves after Henry, the success he had and how he handled success. He is just a class guy," Simpson Director of Athletics Brian Nimeuth said. "I have a ton of respect for him. He'll definitely be missed."
A search for Christowski's replacement will begin immediately.
"I've enjoyed the last 20 years," Christwoski said. "I've worked with some great young ladies, some great assistant coaches and great people during my time. It's been a great trip and I've made memories that will last a lifetime."
LOOKING BACK ON CHRISTOWSKI'S CAREER
Christowski needed just two seasons to put Simpson softball on the map, winning NCAA Division III National Championships in 1997 and 1999 after taking over the program in 1996. During his collegiate career, Christowski won four NCAA Regional Championships, five Iowa Conference Championships and took his teams to the NCAA Tournament nine times. He is a three-time IIAC Coach of the Year and earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III National Coach of the Year honors after leading Simpson to its first national title in 1997.
In 2007, he joined an elite class of coaches with his induction into the NFCA Hall of Fame.
The list of accolades goes on and on, but the always-humble Christowski deflects credit to the players and coaches for elevating Simpson to national prominence.
"I don't think the success we experienced was because of me as a coach," he said. "The players, assistant coaches and administration had more to do with that. I was just the person who filled out the lineup card."
In addition to his success at the collegiate level, Christowski enjoyed a hall of fame career before ever setting foot on campus.
He began coaching in 1969, leading Norwalk High School to a 440-179 mark in 12 seasons. After a seven-year stint at Indianola High School, he won the 1992 Iowa State Championship with West Des Moines Dowling Catholic High School while going 272-70 from 1988-95. He was inducted into the Iowa Girls' Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1999.
|1988-95||Dowling Catholic HS||272-70|
|Prep Record: 879-419
Collegiate Record: 624-212-2
Career Record: 1,503-631-2
"One of the things I learned from Henry is that you don't get too high and you don't get too low in coaching," Niemuth said. "You keep moving forward."
Christowski's 2015 Simpson team went 31-12 and appeared in the regional round of the NCAA Tournament. He earned his 600th win early in the season, becoming just the 23rd coach in Division III history to reach the mark.
Throughout his 47 years as a head coach, Christowski went 1,503-631-2 (879-419 at the prep level), a career winning percentage of .704. He coached four Iowa High School Hall of Fame pitchers, 12 NCAA Division III All-Americans and four Academic All-Americans.
"When I got into coaching I wanted to give my daughters something positive to focus their energy on," Christowski said. "And I wanted to provide other young ladies with an outlet to use their energy for something positive.
"For me, I just loved the game."