Kachinko Picks Up 500th Win With King’s Volleyball
WILKES-BARRE — In 2009, reaching 500 victories was the farthest thing from the mind of King’s College women’s volleyball coach Bernie Kachinko. After all, Kachinko had just retired after 21 years at King’s and 403 victories under his belt. Three years later, however, Kachinko returned to King’s and his list of victories grew.
Saturday, the veteran mentor reached another career milestone as the Lady Monarchs swept a home tri-meet to hand Kachinko his 500th career win at King’s. In its opener, King’s swept Penn State Brandywine 25-12, 25-17, 25-12. The Monarchs next bested Gwynedd-Mercy 25-17, 25-14, 25-15. The pair of wins pushed the team’s record to 6-0 thus far this season; the latter ictory pushed Kachinko to the 500-win level.
In the end, it was a celebratory occasion for the lifelong Wyoming Valley native and a 1982 graduate of Valley West High School, who was surrounded by family and friends shortly after the final whistle.
“To reach 500 wins means I have been doing this for a long time and have surrounded myself with a winning team, and that starts with my wife, Marina, and our son, Lukas,” Kachinko said. “My family is huge in my life. My mom, who is my biggest fan, taught me about family and love. My dad, who is looking down on us, taught me about respect, how to respect others, and gave me my work ethic. I am blessed to have a brother and two sisters who are here for me all the time. I am also thankful to the King’s College community and administration for allowing me to coach, as well as to all the great assistant coaches and players I have had over the years.”
The Lady Monarchs were well aware Kachinko entered the day with 498 wins and played with a sense of urgency rarely seen in just the second week of the season.
Since returning to King’s in 2013, Kachinko has led the program to a 93-56 record and is looking to post a fourth straight season of 20 or more victories with one of his most inexperienced teams ever. The Lady Monarchs field a squad that includes just four returning players and one starter back, along with 13 freshmen.
Rachel Miller led the team with 15 kills and is just 23 away from becoming just the fourth player in program history to reach both the 1,000-kill and 1,000-dig plateaus. As the lone returning starter, she was thrilled to be a part of Kachinko’s milestone in her senior year, but was equally excited about the team’s early-season start.
“Its a huge milestone,” Miller said. “I feel like he (Kachinko) has worked so hard and our team really has pushed for it. Reaching 500 wins was super important for him and his family. Coach has put in so much work and time for all of us, so it means a lot. But it’s also exciting to start 6-0 as a team. The freshmen are working super hard and we can’t wait for conference play to start to see how well we can play there. But, starting out 6-0 is something we hoped for and we just need to keep pushing forward.”
Kachinko concurred with his star senior.
“We are very young and very talented but have to come of age a lot quicker since we are going to have a lot of freshmen on the court all the time,” he said. “We are continuing to work hard and have a lot of depth and balance but we also have a lot of interchangeable parts. It’s just a matter of putting the pieces together over the first few weeks to see what works best. Wee have our conference opener on Wednesday, so we have some big things ahead of us, but we have gained a lot of confidence so far.”