DENVER – The University of Denver men’s soccer team has named Zack Schilawski its new assistant coach, head coach Jamie Franks announced on Tuesday.
“The Denver men’s soccer program just got better today,” Franks said. “Zack is a winner. He was a team first, selfless, hardworking player that led through his actions every day. He never took a day or play off. Ironically enough, this type of self-less mentality helped him generate the highest individual accolades you can achieve. He will enhance the culture immediately here at Denver.”
In his four year career with the Demon Deacons, Schilawski played in 99 career matches (program record) and posted 100 career points (third player in program history) on 40 goals and 20 assists. The 2009 NSCAA Third Team All-American had 15 game-winning goals in his career, including the winner against Ohio State in the 2007 National Championship game. The Cary, N.C., native played three of his four seasons with Franks at Wake Forest, including the 2007 title run. In the classroom, Schilawski was a two-time Academic All-American.
"I am incredibly excited to join the University of Denver men's soccer program,” Schilawski said. “The coaching staff and the players have established an outstanding culture, demanding character and development both on and off the field. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it and I can't wait to get started.
During my student-athlete experience, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by great teammates and great people. Maintaining those relationships since graduating has been a massive benefit for me both personally and professionally. I hope to help provide the men’s soccer student-athletes with the same experience during and after their time at the University of Denver.”
Schilawski was taken ninth overall in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft by the New England Revolution, making his MLS debut in his rookie year. In his rookie season, Schilawski became the first rookie in MLS history to register a hat trick in his home debut. Following his professional career, Schilawski graduated from law school at the University of North Carolina School of Law.
“Being an All-American and a two-time Scholar All-American at Wake Forest did not come easy to him,” Franks said. “Zack was in constant competition with two other elite forwards, which forced him to be at his best every day. The competition was healthy, and facilitated their development as people too. Soccer is just a microcosm for teaching life and Zack experienced firsthand how much character development can be taught during the four year career of a student-athlete. Our job is to develop people to become reliable partners, fathers and community members. We both experienced firsthand how a team-first culture can develop individuals. It sounds silly, but the more that you buy in, the more that you will take away.
In 2017, Schilawski was admitted to practice law in North Carolina, where he focused his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiation with the Wake Family Law Group.
“When you win over 75 games together and win a national championship, there’s a certain level of trust and loyalty that is shared,” Franks said. “Zack first met me as an immature, insecure young player from New Jersey who was in search of who I was, what I valued and where I fit in. Being an 18 year old kid in a new environment can be scary, but if you focus on the process everyday with people who care about you, great things can happen. I know that my teammates and I all helped each other grow to the people that we are today. Whether its doctors, professional athletes, lawyers, entrepreneurs or accountants, I know that my teammates are making their communities better every day. There is an innate goodness to try and leave the place better than when they found it. I take great pride in playing a small part in my teammates’ development. I hope that we can continue to push standards higher and create an environment where players help each other grow. I believe that will lead to forging lifelong relationships that will continue well beyond when they graduate and always connect them to Denver.”
Schilawski has coaching experience in the PDL, assisting North Carolina FC’s U-23 team in the summers. The Carolina native coached Pioneer goalkeeper Will Palmquist in his time with NCFC.