When Mike Zauhar resigned as a varsity boys' basketball assistant coach following last season he was staring at the prospect of not coaching for the first time in his 28-year career.
When Janell Westphal resigned as the Brainerd Warriors head softball coach after last season Zauhar applied and subsequently was hired for the position.
"The basic reason why I'm getting back into it is I wanted to coach," Zauhar said. "I have a baseball background. I played baseball in high school. I also have a softball background. I played fast-pitch and slow-pitch for about 16 years. I was Stan Nagorski's varsity baseball assistant at Crosby-Ironton for a couple years. I coached freshmen baseball at St. John's when I was a senior, and I've coached in a number of summer recreation programs.
"I think I've got the experience because I ran the varsity program in basketball. I'm excited about working with the kids in the softball program."
Zauhar is thrilled with the staff that has been assembled. Ty Eigner will be the varsity assistant and John Ward, Dan Bzdok and Amy Aho will coach the junior varsity and sophomore teams. Westphal will assist Peggy Henderson with the ninth-grade squad.
Westphal coached the Warriors to a 12-12 record, including a 2-2 mark in the subsection tournament, in her final varsity season.
"I did not want to get out of coaching," Zauhar said. "I feel I have too much to offer. And, for me it's very rewarding."
Brainerd High School activities director Todd Selk said he hired Zauhar because of his "tremendous amount of fire for coaching."
"I believe he will pass that excitement and enthusiasm on to the kids," Selk said. "And, he has surrounded himself with a good staff.
"Mike has a background in baseball and also in softball. He's a very hard-worker. We feel good about this. We had a number of applicants, some from within (the school system) and some from outside so there was some interest in the program, which is a positive for us.
"What it all boils down to is we felt Mike was the person who could lead the program in the direction we wanted it led."
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