Three local coaches nominated for regional BCAM awards

Karl Momrik, Eric Muszynski and John Pintar all had tremendous levels of success during the 2013-14 basketball season, whether it was leading their teams to conference titles or a measure of success in the state tournament.

Now all three have a chance to be recognized for their success.

The trio is among the nominees for the Region 15 coach of the Year Award from the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM).

“It’s cool because it means your team had a successful season,” Pintar said. “You get the respect of your peers and it’s good to get that recognition.”

All three are representing region 15, which comprises 16 counties in Northern Michigan and school in all four of the state’s classes. A coach must be a member of BCAM and be nominated by other coaches for the award. One coach is picked from each of the state’s 16 regions and BCAM selects an overall boys and girls coach of the year and coaches of the year for all four classes.

The award will be given within the next few weeks.

Pintar coached the Alpena High boys basketball team to one of its best season in school history as the Wildcats went 20-2, put together a 20-game win streak and won their first Big North Conference title since 2008.

Pintar was nominated for the award last year and said this season was as enjoyable as any he’s ever coached. The main reason for this Pintar said was Alpena’s players. Pintar consistently referred to his team’s will to win during the season and their belief that they were the best team on the floor no matter who they played.

“This is a really unique group. I started coaches these guys in fourth and fifth grade, so I had a lot of knowledge of them as players. There were some things that were easier to coach because I knew them as players.”

Muszynski coached Hillman to perhaps the greatest season in school history. Under Muszynski, the Tigers set a school record for wins (21), won a second consecutive district title and won the North Star League title outright for the first time. On top of all that, the Tigers reached a regional final for the second straight year and have a good chance to do it again next year as they’re losing just two seniors.

Muszynski won the award in 2010 and was also nominated in 2009. He said his players are already looking forward to next season.

“This is one thing as a coach that you dream of: to be expected to do well year in and year out,” Muszynski said. “It’s something the coaches and players want. It takes a combined effort from the community, the parents and the players. When the team has a great season, everyone gets rewarded.”

The other boys coaches nominated for the award in the region are Sanford-Meridian’s Mitch Bohn and Beaverton’s Ray Johnston.

Momrik has been nominated for the award several times including last season when the Posen girls basketball team advanced to a regional final and finished the season with one loss.

With sky-high expectations again this year, Posen rose to the occasion. The Vikings were ranked No. 2 in Class D all season and finished the regular season with a 20-0 record for the second straight year. They wrapped up another North Star League title as well as a fifth straight district title before going on to win their first regional title in school history with a win over Brimley.

Posen’s season came to end in the quarterfinals against No. 1 Crystal Falls Forest Park, but Momrik was proud of his team’s efforts all season, particularly on defense.

“It was different than last year. We lost a couple of really good guards and it was hard to judge how we were going to do,” Momrik said. “The backbone of it was a lot of hard work and we couldn’t be prouder of the girls.”

The other girls coaches nominated for the award are: Gaylord’s Frank Hamilla, Arenac Eastern’s Butch Beckham, Standish’s Kevin King, Midland Bullock Creek’s Justin Freeland, Clare’s Matt Rodenbo and Midland’s Elaine Mahabir.

Several local players were also named to the BCAM’s Best All-State Lists for the 2013-14 season. For the boys, Alpena’s Andy Marwede and Hillman’s Mason VanPamel were named BCAM’s Best in their respective classes and Alpena’s Tyler Pintar, Alcona’s Trenton LaVergne, Fairview’s Logan Winton and Onaway’s Lexi Szymoniak were all honorable mentions.

The Alpena boys team achieved the highest team GPA in Class A with a 3.658 GPA. Hillman was an honorable mention in Class D at 3.074 as was the Fairview girls team (3.287). Marwede, Pintar, LaVergne, Alcona’s Karina Cole and Posen’s Korynn Hincka all received academic all-state awards.

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.