By GIB SNYDER III
OBSERVER Sports Reporter
Last June, long-time Silver Creek varsity baseball coach, Mike Janisch, received a very unexpected call, informing him he had been named one of eight small school, regional Coaches of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
"I don't really know," Janisch said of how he came to be named the Northeast Region's Coach of the Year, noting that he hoped to find out more about the award on Friday night while he was in Chicago for the ABCA's annual convention.
"I think it's more on lifetime achievement than it is on any one individual thing," Janisch added.
Janisch, who has been a high school baseball coach for the last 40 years - the last 34 in Silver Creek - never expected to receive an honor such as this.
"I was flabbergasted," Janisch said. "You never anticipate being chosen for something such as this. And this obviously is a tremendous honor."
2013 will mark Janisch's 34th season as the Black Knights baseball coach, and during that time, he has led Silver Creek to three Section 6 Class C titles, the first in 1993, which was followed by titles in 2002 and 2006.
"I think it's kind of honor for the amount of wins that he's had and the length of his career," Silver Creek Athletic Director Sean Helmer said. "He's coached baseball for over 35 years. That's pretty rare these days and I think that's impressive."
Janisch, who did not bring attention to himself, was still very proud to receive the award.
"I don't tell many people," Janisch said. "It's just been kind of a warm spot in my heart for me.
"It's nice because you get out to a clinic where there are about 5,000 coaches," Janisch continued. "You get to hear national speakers, you get to see a lot of people and talk to a lot of different coaches from other areas of the U.S."
Helmer, and the rest of the coaches in the Silver Creek district, couldn't be happier for Janisch, who also serves as the school's cross country coach.
"I think epitomizes what a coach should be," Helmer said. "He's selfless, he devotes his time to the game that he loves and trying to help kids get better at the game and share the same passion that he has for it. Obviously it's something he really cares about to have stuck with it as long as he has."
The trip to Chicago was not all about the award ceremony however, as Janisch and his wife Mandy are also able to spend some extra time with their three daughters, Juli, Michelle and Anne - who all live in the Chicago area.
"It's really a special deal," Janisch said. "My wife and I are very pleased. This is great, I get to see my grandkids ... It's too quick, but it certainly will live in me for a while. It will keep me warm on those cold nights in January."
Janisch knows that without the players he has coached, he never would have been able to be recognized the way he has by the ABCA.
"The kids make the 40 years worth it," Janisch said. "They are the ones that you coach for. You want to give them the best possible experiences in life that you can. This is a little bit of icing on that huge cake."