North Carroll's Bauerlein is ready to call it a season on career

January 05, 1994

The word is starting to leak out.

Carroll County apparently will lose a high school wrestling coaching legend in two months.

Yes, North Carroll's Dick Bauerlein is ready to retire after 19 seasons at the school and 31 years of coaching.

Bauerlein told his wrestlers last week that this is his last season but he has yet to make his retirement official.

He said last night he would have no comment on the subject until after the season is over. In typical Bauerlein fashion, he said: "I want to devote all my time to the season."

The bottom line is that Bauerlein would prefer to go out quietly with his first state championship tucked neatly in his back pocket.

But there is no way a coach of this magnitude can just walk away with barely a whimper.

Bauerlein has affected so many lives positively that the moment hementions the word retirement, his legions of followers and admirers are saddened -- especially the underclass wrestlers and their parents who want the veteran coach to stay around a few more seasons.

Not to mention all the junior-program wrestlers who have hopes of being coached some day by the Maryland State Wrestling Hall ofFamer.

Bauerlein's love for his underclassmen has kept him in coaching longer than he originally intended. Over the past five years, he has backed off from serious retirement talks because of a desire to stay with some youngsters until they graduate.

However, last season Bauerlein said his wife had been diagnosed with lupus and her condition would play a major role in his retirement.

Bauerlein, 53, is a dedicated family man and it's obvious he would walk away from coaching in a minute if it were in the best interest of any member of his family.

He cherishes every minute he can be with his family. One night recently when he had the evening off from wrestling, Bauerlein went to his daughter's house for dinner.

Mindi Bauerlein Wagner is the young and successful field hockey coach at Francis Scott Key, and her father beams with pride when talking about her.

Wagner has emerged as a role model for youngsters just like her father has been for 31 years.

Bauerlein is a rare breed of coach who has been able to span three decades and maintain discipline long after many coaches basically have given up on running a tight ship.

Bauerlein's outstanding senior wrestler Saidrick Lewis said recently the Panthers have been so successful over the years because "Coach Bauerlein makes us conservative and enables us to focus on wrestling."

Bauerlein has managed to do all the right things off the mat for his wrestlers and win (222-20 dual-meet record, three second-place finishes in the state among 10 consecutive top six showings and seven straight county tournament championships).

Bauerlein has not only built something of a legacy in Carroll County but he is respected throughout the state and was instrumental in getting the state association to schedule its first dual-meet championship this season in addition to the usual state tournament.

He long has contended that dual meets are a better team barometer than a tournament concept that he says emphasizes individuals.

Now it appears Bauerlein will be around to coach in only one of the state dual-meet championships. The master strategist is superb at using his personnel in dual meets, and his Panthers will be one of the favorites to win the state 1A-2A dual-meet title in a few weeks.

A state title is the only honor that has escaped Bauerlein in his career, and now he finally has the format he has been seeking.

Talk about the stage being set for an emotional ending.

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