- Ewing Township Board of Education
Hill, Quigley Presented with Kovalsky Scholarships
July 19, 2021
On a warm June afternoon, in between the two fields where Ewing Schools’ educator James Kovalsky spent so much of his life coaching and teaching Ewing baseball and football players, two outstanding Ewing High School student-athletes were presented $1,000 scholarships in honor and memory of the legendary “Coach K”.
EHS Class of ’21 members Thomas “TJ” Quigley and William “Trey” Hill were proud recipients of the scholarships, presented in part by Kovalsky’s wife Eileen, also a longtime Ewing Schools educator.
To honor the powerful legacy of Kovalsky, the “Coach K” Scholarship Committee was formed. With assistance from sponsor and registered 5013C organization, the 3A Foundation, Inc. (Improving Lives through Academics, Arts and Athletics), the scholarships were presented for the first time to one graduating Ewing High senior baseball and one graduating Ewing High senior football player.
“One of the things I learned from Coach K is about the importance of paying it forward,” said Ron Cefalone, a former Blue Devil who was coached by Kovalsky. Cefalone now represents the 3A Foundation, Inc. and is a member of the scholarship committee. “You have to look out for other people. Through this foundation and these scholarships, we can make a difference in the lives of others and honor the legacy of Coach K.”
An exceptional athlete himself, Kovalsky was a decorated quarterback in football and All-State catcher in baseball who garnered interest from professional baseball franchises before deciding to attend college and study education.
After a stellar career as a student-athlete at Glassboro College (now Rowan) where he starred on the gridiron and diamond, Kovalsky joined the Ewing Schools as a Language Arts Teacher at Antheil Middle School in 1970. He would work for the school district for 34 years until retiring in 2004.
Perhaps Kovalsky’ s most influential work was when he served as Head Freshman Coach for the Blue Devils football program for eighteen years throughout the 70s and 80s. It was in this role that Kovalsky developed many outstanding football players who would move on to become integral parts of Ewing High School’s stellar teams in those decades, which included State Championships in 1981 and 1985. Kovalsky would eventually move to the varsity level where he served as Offensive Coordinator into the early 2000s.
On the diamond, Kovalsky was a 23-year Ewing High School assistant coach before leading the Blue Devils baseball program to five straight winning seasons as head coach prior to retirement.
Kovalsky is a member of both the Washington High School Wall of Fame and the Ewing High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
The scholarship committee selected two worthy recipients for the initial scholarships.
Quigley, a three-sport athlete, was a rugged lineman for the vastly improved Blue Devils football program, paving the way for a high-powered, high-scoring offense. He will continue his studies and football career at Montclair State University. Hill was a valuable and versatile performer for the EHS Baseball team, and will continue his studies at Mercer County College.
“There is nothing Coach K wanted to see more than Ewing kids doing great things in the classroom and on the playing field,” scholarship committee member Anthony Messina stated. “So this is certainly a wonderful way to honor his legacy, and TJ and Trey are outstanding honorees. It is our hope that they will continue to do great things and continue to make all of us at Ewing proud.”
The district had previously released this tribute to Coach K: The Lifelong Legacy of Ewing’s ‘Coach K’