Mike Dowling has really built something special in his nine years coaching the McCann Tech girls' program.
A veteran after 24 years spent roaming the sidelines, Dowling kicked off his coaching career by working under former Drury boys' coach Chris Wondolowski. Dowling spent nine seasons as the Blue Devils' JV coach before stepping up to lead the varsity squad for four years. He considers Wondolowski to be one of his biggest mentors in the profession, as well as legendary Drury baseball coach Tom McGrath, who really helped him understand the "discipline part of coaching."
Dowling, a 1979 graduate of Drury, played soccer all four years in high school and two more seasons at Berkshire Community College. For the past 16 years, Dowling has served as owner and operator of Wise Snacks.
During his time guiding the Hornets, Dowling has led his teams to eight straight berths in the Western Mass. tournament. He's also won two Tri-County League titles in 2005 and 2006 and qualfied for the state vocational tournament six out of his first eight years at the school. In that tournament, McCann has finished second twice and won one championship with the 2005 team, a squad that set a school record by going 19-2 and finishing a perfect 15-0 in Tri-County League play.
During his time at the school, Dowling has coached two 100-point scorers in Heather Malloy and Kaitie Hendrickson, both of whom graduated in 2008. Speaking of 100-something milestones, Dowling earned the 100th win of his coaching career last season with a 3-1 win over Commerce in late October.
As for this season, Dowling is hoping for another successul, fun campaign with a program he's grown to love.
"We have a young team," Dowling said. "We're just hoping to build, get better as the season goes on and to keep the program strong at McCann."