Brylewski producing wins and winners
times news filephoto Mark Postupack is the lone returning starter for a Marian team that has reeled off 48 straight Schuylkill League Division II wins.
To say that the Marian boys golf team has been on a roll would be an understatement.
The Colts enter the 2013 season on a 48-match win streak in Schuylkill League Division II play that spans four seasons. Last season they captured the overall Schuylkill League title, ending a 14-year run by Blue Mountain.
And the man that has been there to oversee all of those wins is Len Brylewski, who is entering his 18th season as the boys head coach.
"I've had some good players over the years," a modest Brylewski says of his prolonged success.
An extended win streak is not that uncommon for Brylewski, whose Colts also went on a 27-match tear that spanned nearly three years earlier in his tenure.
The longtime coach has been the glue that has helped the team maintain that success in a notoriously fickle sport, where fortunes can change on a dime. Brylewski's passion for the game is what keeps his players hungry and motivated, year-after-year.
"Every one of these kids, I try to teach." Brylewski said. "Is it always easy? No. But I love it. Golf is a lifetime sport and that's something I try to instill in the kids."
His enthusiasm for the game, coupled with the Colts' recent dominance, has helped build the program into a perennial power with numbers that keep growing.
The Colts will have 23 boys out for the team this year, nine of which will be freshman. Brylewski attributes the spike in numbers not to his team's accomplishments on the greens, but the opportunities the game creates for some that may have limited options when it comes to other traditional sports.
"Stature doesn't matter in golf the way it does in other sports," Brylewski says. "We have a lot of kids that might be too small to play football. But they can come here and excel. I feel like golf gives these kids someplace to go and showcase their talents in a way they might not be able to in other sports."
Brylewski also notes that some of those skills require extra attention and may sometimes be overlooked by those not familiar with the sport.
"I think the camaraderie and social aspect of the game are crucial for young people," said Brylewski. "These kids have to learn how to be on the (golf) course with one another for almost five hours and get along.
"If you're out there with another guy, you had better be a gentlemen and know how to carry yourself. That's just part of what makes golf so special. In no other sport do you have to walk side-by-side with someone for nearly five hours, then look them in the eye and shake their hand afterwards."
It is that kind of dignity and respect that Brylewski has instilled in his players over the years, regardless of whether the program was in the midst of a hot streak or not.
In the case of the Marian boys golf team, the trickle-down-effect isn't limited to skill and knowledge.
For the Colts, it's also about class and dignity.