Cranston West football head coach Tom Milewski was recently named the 2018 Coach of the Year by the Providence Gridiron Club.
The first-year head coach helped guide the Falcons to a 4-3 regular season record and their first Super Bowl appearance since the 2005 campaign. Former head coach Steve Stoehr took home Coach of the Year for that season, which was the last time a West coached received the award.
“It was very humbling. It was an incredible experience to get the division award, but to then get the all state award was an honor. I was respectfully surprised. We had a good season, we had the players’ help, the coaches’ help, so to receive the recognition feels good. It’s good knowing that you climbed that hill and finished at the top,” said Milewski.
Milewski was an assistant coach on the West staff for over 20 years prior to taking over the head coach position last summer. Although he was no stranger to the game, Milewski felt that he learned quite a bit during his first season at the helm.
“I definitely improved from the beginning of August to the end of November. The way you approach things, you learn the things that work and you learn the things that don’t work. I was able to reflect as the season went on, I figured out the things that needed to be changed to help us get better,” said Milewski. “Whether it was at practice, game plans, during games, I got better at handling those different situations. There was certainly a learning curve. Part of being a coach, you have to be flexible and you have to adjust.”
After making the Division I Super Bowl appearance against North Kingstown, and coming within arms reach of winning it, Milewski and the Falcons are confident as they begin to prep for the 2019 season.
“We’re very confident and we look forward to the 2019 season. A lot of positives came out of 2018, a lot of learning experiences, you learn and you move forward. Last year we worked together with the kids and the coaches and we got it done. Looking toward this season, the kids have already been working hard, we have been putting together a plan and will make some changes to our early practices. It’s exciting, it’s like a puzzle and you have to fit all the pieces,” said Milewski, who embraces the challenge of having a target on his back. “We’re going to use that as motivation. Now everybody knows who we are and what we’re about. You have to take that, buy in and work even harder. We got (to the Super Bowl) last year and we were happy to be there, but our ultimate goal is to get there and win it.”