One of the most decorated coaches in the history of US Soccer, Gene Chyzowych, is the recipient of the 2014 Walt Chyzowych Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is presented to an individual who has exemplified Walt’s spirit for the game of soccer.
Gene Chyzowych, Walt’s brother, has retired after fifty one (51) years of coaching soccer at Columbia HS located in Maplewood, NJ where his greater than 750 victories ranks third in the nation all time. “Coach C” has graduated greater than 1500 players, many of whom have continued to coach soccer and follow in his footsteps including: St. John’s University head coach Dr. David Masur; David Donavan, head coach of the Delbarton School; and Seton Hall Prep head coach Marty Berman – to name a few.
Arriving in America at age 13 from war-torn Europe, Gene quickly found soccer stardom at Philadelphia’s North Catholic High School and later at Temple University from which he graduated in 1963. He played professionally in the US and Canada and as a member of the US Open Cup Champions, Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals during their dynasty years in the late 1960s, and later coached in the American Professional Soccer League. He went on to serve as US National and Olympic Team Coach in 1973-74.
Gene and his brother Walt along with others started the All American Soccer Camp and School, one of the first such sport specific camps in America in the early 60s, where his energy, enthusiasm and love of soccer influenced tens of thousands of youngsters and aspiring coaches.
During the summer of 1970 Gene and 15 other coaches attended the very first US Soccer Federation Coaching School conducted by FIFA Coach, Dettmar Cramer. Cramer quickly recognized Gene’s potential as a pied piper for American youth and their young soccer dreams, granting Gene one of the first “A” licenses and challenging him to spread the “gospel of the game” nationwide. The growth and development of soccer in America today is testament to Gene’s success at meeting that challenge.
Whether serving as Staff Coach at a USSF coaching school, or conducting a NSCAA Academy, or coaching at Columbia HS, or teaching a NJ State coaching course, Chyzowych’s influence has been felt across the continent.
A member of the NSCAA for over 50 years Gene Chyzowych’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. He has been National Soccer Coach of the Year on several occasions, was honored by the NSCAA with a Letter of Commendation in 1996 and in 2009 was inducted into the prestigious National Soccer Hall of Fame. In 2007, the Hollywood feature film “Gracie” was inspired by two of Gene’s former players, Elizabeth and Andrew Shue, and included appearances by Columbia HS players and its legendary coach. In addition, Sports Illustrated cited Gene’s coaching excellence -- not for his soccer achievements however, but for volleyball, having coached the Columbia HS Girls Volleyball Team for 12 straight years without a defeat.
Over the past several years the Walt Chyzowych Memorial Fund has asked Gene to accept the Walt Chyzowych Lifetime Achievement Award. He has graciously turned down the honor in favor of “those more worthy.” This year, however, on the twentieth anniversary of his brother Walt’s passing and on Gene’s own retirement, there could be no more worthy recipient.
Upon learning that he would be receiving this year’s award Coach C stated, “This is a very special honor. Walt was my brother, but was also my mentor and best friend. To be named the 2014 recipient and be included with previous recipients who have made such an incredible impact on US Soccer is both heart-warming and humbling.”