By Victor Milani
Kevin Victor Kowalski was born on January 2, 1989 in Oakwood Village, but his family soon settled In Macedonia. The son of Joe and Pat Kowalski, Kevin has one brother Joe, and three sisters, Lindy, Becky and Kelly. They all reside in Northeast Ohio. Kevin Kowalski played both offensive and defensive line for the Nordonia Knights. His fine Nordonia High School career includes accolades such as First team Ohio All State, WRC defensive MVP, and Plain Dealer Summit/Portage County Defensive Player of the year his senior year! Kowalski was truly a star on both sides of the line! Kowalski blocked for future NFL player Jordon Mabin, then a fellow teammate! Kowalski credits Head Coach Keith Boedicker and Assistant coach Brian Coleman for helping his development into a 300 pound offensive/defensive lineman standout!
The University of Toledo noticed the talents of Kowalski, and offered him a full scholarship after graduation in 2007. Kevin was strictly an offensive lineman at Toledo, and went on to start 47 games for the Rockets, and got invited to the Senior Bowl All Star game. Kowalski gives credit to Toledo Head Coach Matt Campbell for allowing him the opportunity to excel at Toledo. Prior to leaving for the NFL, Kowalski got his Bachelor’s degree in individual general studies in 2011.
Kevin Kowalski was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent on July 26. Kowalski was not selected in the 2011 NFL Draft. On September 18, he replaced an injured Phil Costa in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers, contributing to overtime win. On October 16, he replaced an injured Bill Nagy against the New England Patriots. On December 11, against the New York Giants, he replaced an injured Phil Costa in the second quarter. On January 1, he replaced an injured Kyle Kosier against the New York Giants. Kowalski was the go to guy on the offensive line in times of injury and emergency.
He started the 2012 season on the Cowboys’ physically unable to perform list with an ankle injury. He was placed on the active roster on November 17 and was dressed for three games, but also declared inactive in three others. In the 2013 training camp, he was tried at offensive guard and fullback, but a bruised knee limited his playing time before being waived on August 31. On January 8, 2014, the Washington Redskins signed Kowalski to a futures contract. He was released during final cuts on August 29.
Kowalski currently works at former Nordonia and NFL alumni Jason Trusnik’s Pro Sports Performance training facility in Strongsville. Kowalski trains pro, college and high school athletes, along with former Browns punter Reggie Hodges. When Kevin’s career ended in 2014 with Washington, he was a 305 pound lineman. Kevin maintains he had to power eat to maintain that weight necessary for the job of NFL lineman. Kowalski currently is a svelte 230 pounds, after being as low as 210 at one time after retiring. He feels and looks great!
Kevin Kowalski’s NFL career may have been limited to three years, but coming from a small community such as Nordonia Hills, it is quite an accomplishment. Kowalski is one of only four Nordonia alumni that can make that claim. The others, which have been featured in our series, are Rob Sims, Jordon Mabin and Jason Trusnik! He credits his parents Joe and Pat Kowalski, and Brother Joe as instilling great life and work ethics he exhibits. Kevin praises the work of Dallas chiropractor Dr. Peter Jillelt for keeping him in ready to play on Sunday. He is grateful for Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Garrett for giving him the opportunity to make the Cowboys roster. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Kevin’s favorite teacher at Nordonia was Mr. Petersen. On a personal note, I would ask that both Jason Trusnik and Kevin Kowalski, to be considered for induction into the Nordonia High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Both excelled at Nordonia High, college ranks and the pinnacle of their profession, the NFL. Kowalski and Trusnik should join fellow Nordonia High/NFL alumni Rob Sims and Jordon Mabin, in the Hall of Fame. It should be of matter of time for both!
We applaud and congratulate this week’s HOMETOWN HERO: Kevin Kowalski!