Arundel's Walter Won't Return For 37th Season

Varsity Baseball

July 31, 2009|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,

Arundel baseball coach Bernie Walter, who holds state public school records with 609 wins and 10 state titles, has stepped down after 36 years.

Walter recently informed Arundel athletic director Lee Rogers of his decision, ending the finest high school baseball coaching career in the state of Maryland.

"I talked it over with my wife [Barbara], and we decided that it was a good time to do this. We've been there quite awhile, and there wasn't a whole lot more we could do," Walter, 66, said. "The kids won 10 state championships and gave me an opportunity to win 600 games as a coach. ... We did about all we could do."

Walter, who retired as a physical education teacher and the school's athletic director last year, brought so much more than the staggering numbers he compiled after taking over the school's baseball program in 1974.

"The program really wasn't a program before he got there," said assistant coach Nick Jauschnegg, who also stepped down after 33 years but will continue serving as Arundel's boys soccer coach. "It was a bunch of guys that just went out and played baseball. But he quickly turned that around. He instituted a professional style of baseball, developed skills and, more than that, he taught the kids how to become grown men."

The Wildcats won their first state title in 1976, repeated in 1977 and went on to capture eight more under the watchful eye of Walter, who focused on teaching the intricate details of the game along with life skills.

No other coach in the public school ranks has close to 600 wins, and Glenelg and North East of Cecil County have the second-most state titles with five.

"I think we got a lot of good players along the way that were all willing to learn, and we were all about teaching baseball," Walter said. "It was all about instruction and learning, and not just about baseball, but how to become a young man, how to compete and how to live a good life. How we did that, I think we practiced hard, practiced with a purpose and practiced under pressure."

Walter was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007 after being named National Coach of the Year three times. He's also a member of the Anne Arundel Sports Hall of Fame.

"I think he's the one person responsible for the level of baseball of where it is today. Not only in Anne Arundel, but the whole metro area and maybe throughout the state," Jauschnegg said.

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