Packy Witkowski has always been a player to watch on the Coast Guard Academy men’s basketball team, but perhaps this was a season both he and fans of the program will remember the most.
The Melrose, Massachusetts native, who played high school basketball at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, averaged a career-best 17.7 points per game. He scored a career-high 477 points in 27 contests to go with 120 rebounds, 34 assists, 20 steals, and five blocks.
Witkowski registered 20 points or more in nine games this past winter while sinking a season-best 33 points on 12 of 21 shooting in his team’s 80-69 win over Merchant Marine Academy. He scored 10 points or more in 21 contests while averaging 17.6 points for the Bears in three New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament games.
The senior guard concludes an impressive four-year run with the Bears, which saw him record 1,518 points in 93 games to go with 502 rebounds, 150 assists, 61 steals, and 15 blocks.
We recently spoke with Witkowski to discuss his final season with the Bears, as well as his future plans with the Coast Guard beyond graduation.
What will you remember most about your senior year with the Bears?
It’s hard to narrow down to a single event from this past season, but I would say our team’s journey is what I will remember the most.
From starting out in Anchorage, Alaska to finishing in Brockport, New York, it was a journey made by a group of brothers. We did not start well but we kept at it. By the end, we were operating on all cylinders when we needed it most and founds a way through. This culminated in winning three road playoff games in five days to become NEWMAC Tournament Champions to earning an automatic bid into the NCAA D-III Tournament.
The journey was special and an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life.
Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you remember most? Why these particular games?
Our NEWMAC Championship game against WPI. To be down 24 points at the break and comeback and win was nothing short of incredible. I am very grateful to have been part of a win like that, but more importantly, on a team that was so resilient. It is difficult to put that one game into words but that is a memory that will bond us forever.
What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Coast Guard Academy men’s basketball team (and program) these past four years?
Being able to compete (on a daily basis), but really just being a part of this team for four years. Having that competitive outlet and support network from the team and coaching staff has made my experience here at the Coast Guard Academy that much more rewarding and worthwhile. Having the privilege to go to the Academy and represent it while playing a sport that I love has truly been amazing. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I have been afforded and the experiences I have had during my time both here at the Academy and on this team.
Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan (or hope) to stay involved with your sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching in the future?
I will always love this game and do what I can to keep up with the team going forward. I can see myself getting involved in coaching to some degree down the road because I am passionate about helping and developing others. Coaching would allow me to continue that passion after graduation.
Tell me about your major. How did you choose it? Also, what are your future plans beyond graduation?
I am finishing up my degree in civil engineering. I have always wanted to have a technical background that would allow me to develop real-world problem-solving skills and that is exactly what this major has provided me.
I believe studying civil engineering has set me up for future success, beginning as an officer with the Coast Guard. School has always been something that has meant a lot to me and I have worked really hard to be successful at it while balancing both my military and basketball commitments.
I will be serving aboard USCGC Reliance as a Deck Watch Officer in June and am very excited to begin my career with the Coast Guard. Beyond that, I am working towards making my dream of being a Coast Guard aviator come true, as well.