Arundel's Walter selected No. 1 in nation

SIDELINES

December 08, 1993|By PAT O'MALLEY

He's been No. 1 in Anne Arundel County, the metro area, the state and district, and now deservedly so, he's numero uno in the nation.

Arundel's Bernie Walter received the National High School Baseball Coaches Association's highest award in Chicago over the weekend.

Walter, who led the Wildcats to a 21-1 record, an unprecedented sixth state title and the Easton/Collegiate Baseball National High School championship, was named National High School Coach of the Year.

Walter, who is 323-89 in 20 years at Arundel, was one of eight district winners nominated for the overall award. He was the winner out of District II, which includes Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia, Washington and North Carolina.

"I consider it a coaches award involving my whole coaching staff because we couldn't do it unless we had good assistants," said Walter, praising his high school and Mayo Legion summer coaches Nick Jauschnegg, Tut O'Hara, Kevin Heiser, John Hall, Pat Overton and Dave Givans.

The Mayo 18-and-under team and its 15-and-under team serves as an extension of the very successful high school program.

"I'm very gracious, very honored and it's kind of neat, really," said Walter, a Brooklyn Park High and University of Maryland graduate.

"You need good players, good talent and the help around you to get the most out of them."

Billy Pelot Jr., a Glen Burnie High grad, also was honored by the BCA at its national convention and clinic. Pelot, who lives in Cartersville, Va., is head baseball coach at Louisa County High in Virginia, and he was named High School Groundskeeper of the Year.

Pelot's father, Bill Sr., used to own and run a tavern/restaurant in Glen Burnie while coaching the Glen Burnie Colonials. Bill Jr. played first base and outfield for the high school and his father's team.

Football debate continues

Most of the response to Sunday's Sidelines column on why county high school football teams don't do better in the state playoffs, favored setting up a middle-school age youth football league with no weight limits.

It would be like a JV prep course, especially for those too big to play in the current weight-controlled program in the county.

Soccer profits from the fact that some youths are too big for youth football, and with the World Cup invasion due here in 1994, interest in the sport could soar to even greater heights.

A high percentage of county high school football players, particularly the linemen, don't get to play until high school because they are simply too big.

High school football lacks a full-fledged feeder system like sports such as baseball, lacrosse, soccer and basketball. As a result, Anne Arundel County high school football teams are not as successful in state tournaments as other teams.

With a middle-school league, it's likely the county could produce more linemen like Severna Park's All-Metro blue-chipper Ron Green. Subsequently, Anne Arundel teams likely would be more competitive in the state football playoffs where they have won only two state titles.

"I went to quite a few high school football games this year, and it seems like there are bigger kids in the stands than there are on the field," said Mark McGuire, a Greater Glen Burnie youth soccer coach.

"I think what is happening is that the bigger, better athletes are playing soccer at a young age and sticking with it."

McGuire coaches a 9-and-under youth soccer team and says his 8-year-old, Scott, weighs 96 pounds, and there are five other kids just as big. Those kids would be too big for the county's 75-pound program for youths their age.

"They start playing soccer at a young age, and as they grow older, the better athletes don't switch," said McGuire.

Sunday's Sidelines also quoted Gambrills youth coach Chuck Morse as saying, "Montgomery County wins all the time because their coaches work harder."

That remark raised the ire of North County coach Chuck Markiewicz.

"Brad [Wilson, defensive coordinator] took exception to that, because we spend more time with our football players and films than we do with our families," said Markiewicz.

"We're going over film right now. This is a full-time thing for me, not part-time like some guys do. If Mr. Morse would like to spend some time with us, tell him to pack his bags and come spend a week with us."

Part of Anne Arundel's problem is not all the coaches take the game as seriously as Markiewicz does. The time Markiewicz puts in shows -- the Knights have the county's best record over the last four seasons (35-9 overall) with three straight playoff appearances.

If some of the other county coaches worked as hard as Markiewicz, the top teams would play five or six playoff-caliber games in the regular season as teams do in Montgomery County as opposed to the two or three they currently play in Anne Arundel.

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