By Mike Mattson
Local Sports Journal

Warren Zweigle thought at one time he would have a future coaching basketball.

But Whitehall kids are glad baseball got in Zweigle’s way.

“Baseball was not always my favorite sport,” Zweigle said. “I wanted to be a basketball coach. But I fell in love with baseball and it means the world to me. I feel baseball is the greatest game on earth.”

Zweigle parlayed that love for baseball into a standout career that has earned him a spot in the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Zweigle, 47, will join Mona Shores’ Walt Gawkowski and four other coaches at their induction banquet in June 2013.

They will be introduced at the East-West All-Star Game and their names will be inscribed on a plaque in the MHSBCA’s showcase down the right field line at Detroit’s Comerica Park.

“It’s really humbling for me,” said Zweigle, a Mason County Eastern graduate. “It is an honor to be chosen by your peers. It’s an award not expected. It doesn’t represent me; it represents all the great assistants and kids I’ve had over the years. It’s a celebration of Whitehall baseball.”

Zweigle has been a teacher at Whitehall for 19 years and served 18 years as head baseball coach. He’s compiled a 364-198 record, with a state runner-up finish in 1998, eight district championships, six conference titles and two regional crowns.

Zweigle and Gawkowski will join 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.

Zweigle is looking forward to this varsity baseball season when he will coach his sons Zach, a senior, and Ian, a sophomore.

“I never anticipated coaching that long,” Zweigle said. “My kids have really helped that.”