MIKE NIETO: The final countdown for T.F. North's Kosiara

2014-05-22T22:00:00Z 2014-05-22T23:55:46Z MIKE NIETO: The final countdown for T.F. North's KosiaraMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
May 22, 2014 10:00 pm  • 

He started out as a Rebel and is finishing as a Meteor.

T.F. North baseball coach Mike Kosiara will coach his last home game today when the Meteors host Oak Lawn at 4:30 p.m.

After nine years of coaching at North and 34 years of coaching organized baseball in Calumet City and Lansing, Kosiara deserves a big sendoff. So does his wife Joan for letting him coach.

The 1973 T.F. South grad, a Valparaiso resident who once played for hall of fame coach Bill Anderson, promoted Calumet City and the school. His field is one of the best to play on and who knows how much he took out of his pocket to buy sod, dirt and to buy less-fortunate kids shoes. I know he was instrumental in North's field getting a new scoreboard.

If District 215 and the Calumet Memorial Park District want to give the man a good present, why not name the varsity baseball field after him? It makes sense. And while you are at it, name the junior varsity field after longtime baseball baseball coach Jerry Munda. When Munda coached, the current JV field was the varsity field. Kosiara deserves it.

Despite his teams not having winning records, T.F. North has always been a class program. That starts with the coach and Kosiara wanting the best for his kids. Just because they were not from a big-money community, didn't mean they couldn't take pride in their work or have nice uniforms and good equipment. He taught the kids to be proud and play the game right.

With eight grandchildren, he and Joan will keep occupied. Now he can spend time driving his blue 1967 Mustang convertible around town with the white top lowered.

When he took over the program was rock bottom and he said he threw away everything from uniforms to catcher's gear. He went to the Little League and feeder systems to jump start them, too. Not a lot of people who live in a community would do that, yet alone someone who lives two counties and a state away.

What Kosiara has done for T.F. North baseball was more than just teaching the game to a lot of kids who had never played. Kosiara and his wife also established the Edward A. Kosiara Scholarship Award, which is given to a graduating T.F. North senior who is in the school's baseball program. It is named in honor of Mike's dad, who died in 2009. He pays for it from his own pocket as his way of encouraging young men to continue their education.

Mike is a down-to-earth guy who called in his scores to The Times no matter what the score was. I am sure it hurt as he counted up errors, but he called in his results with "Don't be too rough on us." He also never hesitated to push a young man for honors.

He will leave with a losing record, but that doesn't tell the whole story of Mike Kosiara. His actions did his talking and he has some pretty impressive acts he has done for the Calumet City community.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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