That’s one of the reasons why it’s so hard for her to walk away from something she dearly loves.
Pawlik announced Thursday that she is retiring after 17 successful seasons as the Penn volleyball coach.
“This is the right time to step away,’’ said a very emotional Pawlik Thursday morning, not long after meeting with her team to tell them. “I never saw the end coming and that’s what makes this decision so hard. This was never the plan.
“I went back and forth on the decision, but it’s time to do it. I can’t give you just one reason for the decision, but a lot of thought went into it.
“There’s no question I will miss it. I’ve always loved volleyball. It’s given me so many great opportunities to coach so many wonderful young ladies, make friendships and make unbelievable memories.”
Pawlik, who started at Penn in 1994, led the Kingsmen to their first state championship in November, capping a 39-1 season by beating Muncie Central 3-0 to win the Class 4-A title. Penn had eight seniors on that team, including star setter Lexie Pawlik. The All-Stater, who will play at South Carolina next season, is Lisa’s daughter.
“This is not about Lexie,’’ said coach Pawlik. “I never planned to retire after her high school career. I looked at every scenario and this is the right decision for everyone involved; me, my family, our players, the program and Penn High School. I step away with a sense of pride that I leave the program at the top.”
Pawlik, who will continue to teach at PHS, went 514-105 in 17 seasons and was 724-226 overall in 27 years (including eight years at Mt. Vernon-Fortville and two at Lawrence Central). She took the Kingsmen to the State Finals five times and had 11 seasons with 30 or more wins and was 119-15 in NIC competition. Pawlik was the State Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2010 and the NIC Coach of the Year in 2000, 2002 and 2010.
Pawlik has no plans to coach again.
“I’ll still be involved in volleyball, but not as a coach,’’ said Pawlik.
“My heart is here at Penn. I told the girls that I will be their biggest fan next season. To win a championship with that team and to do it for all the players who have played in our program is just icing on the cake. There’s no better memory I could end with than that one.”
Pawlik, a Ball State University graduate, also has a 10-year old son, Jeffrey. Her husband, Rod, is also a teacher at PHS and an assistant football coach for the Kingsmen.