Polkowski named boys basketball coach at Pulaski

A coach familiar with the Fox River Classic Conference, John Polkowski, is the new Pulaski High School boys basketball coach.

The Red Raiders’ new coach was the head boys varsity coach at Green Bay Southwest for 10 years, leaving that position in April. He also served as freshman coach at West De Pere High School for one season. He received the 2019 Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Achievement Award when his Southwest squad racked up a 22-3 season, winning the FRCC title and advancing to the sectional finals before bowing out to a strong Kaukauna team.

“We are excited for the opportunity to have Coach Polkowski lead our young men in the sport of basketball at Pulaski High School,” said Janel Batten, PHS athletic director. “John is a familiar face in the FRCC and has a plethora of successful coaching experience. We were fortunate and grateful to have Coach (Dave) Shaw here leading the way the past several years, but we know we are in great hands with Coach Polkowski.”

Polkowski has been the manager of student engagement, attendance and advocacy for the Green Bay School District since June. Prior to that, he taught for eight years at Southwest and four years at Syble Hopp School in De Pere. He also has served as assistant athletic director since August 2017 at Green Bay Southwest.

He earned his master’s degree in education (K-12 principalship) in 2021 from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education (physical education) in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he played basketball for four years and was a student assistant for one year.

He is originally from Goodman. He lives in Hobart with his wife of 10 years, Sarah. They have three children, Bennett, 7; Tessa, 5; and Wren, 3. The eldest two attend Hillcrest Elementary School.

Polkowski stepped down from Southwest at a time when he thought that program was in good shape. He planned to eventually see what other professional opportunities were out there, not knowing the Pulaski position would come open. When it did, he pounced on the opportunity.

“This was not essentially part of the plan, but you never plan when opportunities come,” Polkowski said. “I feel this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up in the moment.”

The position will allow him to play a larger role in the community where Polkowski and his family live and their children attend school, he noted.

“I don’t know all the history of Pulaski basketball, but I know there is a strong, rich history of success,” he said.

Polkowski would like to contribute in whatever way he can as the program’s leader.

“The program is strong,” he said. “I think there is a sense of community not only within the district but the athletic programs in Pulaski, as a whole, are successful and I want to continue to make sure the boys basketball side is aligned with that as well.”