Just two months ago, we reported that Coach Tony Barchuk had won his 200th game as the football coach at Kingsway, becoming one of 10 coaches in South Jersey history to accomplish such a feat. That in itself is quite a bragging piece for any school.
Well, Kingsway has done it again. On Jan. 3, longtime girls basketball coach, Karyn Pickard, won her 300th basketball game, when her girls defeated host Triton 56-35. A veteran of 19 seasons in three separate stints, Pickard continues to have her team perched among the top programs in South Jersey.
More importantly, Pickard continues to be an institution for the school and community, providing a model that others look to emulate.
“I uncharacteristically am emotional about it,” said Pickard. “Hearing from former players and seeing the support and joy from the community shows how special this is for others.
As many typical successful coaches do, Pickard chose to downplay the imminent occasion in the days and weeks leading up to the Triton game. She wanted to keep the focus of her team on the team, not her.
After the win however, Pickard heard from many people, past and present, who expressed the impact that she has made on them as players and as people. For example, Tonya Kier-DeRosa, a 1988 graduate of Kingsway and star athlete during her school days, stated how Pickard was such a motivating force in her life, saying that she “aspired to be like Coach Pickard as a person and a professional.”
Pickard has fond memories of her many championship teams. However, it is her family bonds that she has created with hundreds of athletes, families, coaches, and colleagues that she holds as highlights.
“While we get into this wanting to get wins, it’s so much more than that,” said Pickard. “I coach to affect the character of people more than the game of kids. Interestingly, times like this show you how much support and love you have from the ‘family’ that has been built over the years.”
“While we all are fortunate enough just to be able to lace up the shoes every day and play this sport, we are more fortunate to have created the relationships that we have,” she continues. “We’ll have this bond forever. That’s what it’s about.”
The practices, games, and seasons will come and go. However, the community and culture that Pickard has nurtured during her 18 seasons of service will extend far beyond. 300 wins is more symbolic of that than anything else. That’s how Pickard would want it.