By Mike Mattson
Local Sports Journal

It’s been quite a week for Mona Shores baseball coach Walt Gawkowski.

Ten days ago, Gawkowski’s granddaughter was born in Los Angeles. And then he recently learned of his selection into the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

“I’m a grandfather for the first time, and then getting an honor I didn’t expect, it’s been a nice week,” Gawkowski said Thursday afternoon from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport before catching a plane for the West Coast.

“It’s really neat,” he added about the baseball honor.” I’m happy, humbled and honored. It’s a nice way to cap a career.”

Gawkowski enters his 10th season as head coach of the Sailors. He previously spent 17 years as head coach at North Muskegon and five years as a varsity assistant and jayvee coach at Muskegon Catholic Central.

Gawkowski , who serves as the assistant principal at Mona Shores High School, is a former standout player at Muskegon Catholic and Central Michigan University.

He will join five other coaches at their induction banquet in June 2013. And his name will be inscribed on a plaque in the MHSBCA’s showcase down the right field line at Detroit’s Comerica Park.

Gawkowski joins the following previous Muskegon area inductees:

Mona Shores’ Don Dezelsky, Muskegon’s Harry Potter and Jerry Eaton, Grand Haven’s Steve Sluka and Chuck Sikkenga, Whitehall’s John Huizenga, Spring Lake’s Tom Hickman, Montague’s Charlie Mikkelsen, Fruitport’s Cap Pohlman, Shelby’s Brian Wright and Hart’s John Butler,

“It’s an honor to be amongst those distinguished coaches,” Gawkowski said. “I’m grateful they thought enough of me to select me.

“’I’ve spent 32 years in the game. You hope you are making a difference in the lives of kids you’ve coached over the years. And, of course, you’ve got all the kids you were lucky enough to coach and all the guys who’ve assisted you. And you want to accept this on their behalf, too.”