Polish National Youth
PNYBF National President, Stan Kokoska
Stan Kokoska is known as, "The Father of Little League in Poland" where he started the first Little League activity in Eastern Europe, in Poland. He has been a PNYBF National Representative to Poland for 28 years. He had gone to Poland to find his roots in 1987 and while on tour that summer, saw boys without an activity. He went to Warsaw to meet with Polish officials regarding Little League baseball and then contacted Williamsport, PA headquarters. As a result, after great effort, Poland became the first Communist country in Eastern Europe to start LL Baseball. Now, there are numerous East European countries participating and his work has spread everywhere.
He took early retirement from the Connecticut State Department of Education to follow up on the wishes of Little League that he organize the whole country (Poland). He enlisted the help of long time fellow worker Tony Arnista to create a Foundation "The Polish Little League Foundation". This was later changed to avoid a conflict with a similar Foundation in Williamsport. The "Polish National Youth Baseball Foundation" was thus a reality. Kokoska and Arnista were long time colleagues in the Connecticut State Department of Education as consultants and had similar interests in their Polish activities. Both taught Polish Folk dancing and culture and were active in Polish groups and national organizations for many years.
The Board of Directors, through donations, collects tons of items from numerous baseball leagues. They are repaired, packed, stored and shipped by Kokoska. Stan has also traveled all over Poland introducing and coaching baseball many years. He has taught Polish coaches how to re-lace gloves, fix chest protectors, build baseball fields, utilize training techniques, etc.
Stan learned how to repair desktop computers and fix those donated to PNYBF, at his expense, for Poland. Thus, through the Internet, he became able to communicate more quickly than with mailed letters that often take more than seven days to go one way.
Stan Kokoska served in the US Third Division in Korea as an Infantry Lieutenant and he was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor after a daylight raid on an outpost in Korea.
He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BS Degree with Physics as a major. He received his Masters Degree from Rensselaer in New York in Sciences. He was an instructor for eight years in Windham Technical School and then became an administrator in Vocational-Technical education as a Director of the Hartford Skill Center and concurrently Vocational Satellite at the Enfield Prison.
He has been president of several groups; Polish American Congress District of CT, Pulaski Citizens Club of Willimantic and the Willimantic Kiwanis Club to name a few. He also was elected Mayor of the City of Willimantic and was the first Polish American to become Mayor of that city. Little League named him Eastern Regional volunteer of the year in 1989.
His love of sports and his desire to teach children led him to his hobby of coaching Little League and YMCA Basketball for ten years before he left to help Poland establish LL. His son Tom was a football and baseball star at Yale and he was awarded seven varsity letters in the two sports. For four years at Yale, Tom roomed with and caught for Ron Darling, former NY Mets pitching star. Tom's Yale connection led Kokoska to President George Bush Sr. President Bush was a Yale baseball captain and was going to Poland to meet Polish Governmental Dignitaries and at Stan's request the President agreed to help Polish LL by meeting with the four new teams in Warsaw in July 1989. They were Jaslo, Kutno, Rybnik and Wroclaw. Here, President Bush presented the first Little League Charters in Eastern Europe.
President Kokoska is now trying to find more Board members and State Directors since there is an expanded interest in Poland in Softball, T-ball, Special Olympics and Boys fast pitch. He plans to continue the Arnista project, "Put A Glove On a Child in Poland". The project will call for more donors and contributions. The major concern now is getting a quantity of gloves and to get funds to continue the shipping of donated gear to Poland.