Eventually, hopefully sooner than later, area athletes are going to get back to the fields, courts, tracks, mats and pools they’ve looked forward to competing in and on since they fell in love with sports in the first place.
When that happens, Olentangy Liberty will have a new boys soccer coach as Ricky Konkolewski has accepted an offer to take over the program, OLHS Athletic Director Darin Meeker announced Tuesday.
Konkolewski was the girls soccer coach at Westerville North for each of the past two seasons. He led the Warriors to one of their best seasons in school history last fall, picking up D-I District Coach of the Year honors while guiding the team to a district title.
Prior to his time at North, Konkolewski, who has a master’s degree in Coaching Education and Sport Sciences from Ohio University, spent 11 years as a head coach and teacher at three different high schools in Texas.
Prior to all that, well, Konkolewski was a Delaware County boy. He graduated from Olentangy.
Now, he’s happy to be back home.
“I’m really excited to take over the Liberty program,” Konkolewski said. “Even when coaching out of state, you always like to check back ‘home’ … and Liberty was always representing Olentangy as one of the elite programs in the state.
“When I finally had a family and decided to come back to Ohio, we decided to reside in Lewis Center because we know how great the district is … so being able to represent the schools and community is really important to me.”
Konkolewski will be taking over for Marc D’Auteuil, who led the Patriots to a 19-win season and trip to the D-I state championship game last season. D’Auteuil, who coached the Patriots for each of the last three seasons, also led them to a state final four appearance in 2018.
“As a coach, I have huge shoes to fill,” Konkolewski said. “But that’s something my players will have in common with me … they will have to do the same thing for the talent that graduated. I have every expectation to bring a state championship back to Powell during my tenure and, most importantly, off the field, steer these guys in the right direction.
“Success on and off the field is really important to me.”
Meeker knows Liberty lost a heck of a coach, but he’s excited to be able to bring in another high-level leader.
“We certainly appreciate what Coach D’Auteuil did for our program during the three years he was here,” the AD said. “But we are very excited to have Ricky join the Liberty athletics family. He’s extremely passionate about the game, as well as developing young people on and off the field.”