Meridian’s Kielpinski Named Assistant Coach of the Year

Joe Kielpinski has demonstrated an unflagging commitment to Meridian schools as a coach and educator for the past 25 years. And on Monday afternoon, he was honored for that commitment with a very special award.

Kielpinski was one of a handful of individuals to receive the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association (MHSBCA) Assistant Coach of the Year award during the MHSBCA’s annual all-star games at Comerica Park in Detroit – an honor which made him feel “pretty pleased, excited.”

“It’s kind of cool. We’d been talking about how much I’ve helped (Meridian baseball coach Mark Novak) over the years, but I guess I was still kind of shocked,” Kielpinski noted. “It was kind of surprising, especially this year, because I was kind of laid up with a bad hip, and we had my two sons and Blair Patty helping us out a lot, so that was nice.”

Novak, who attended Monday’s all-star games and watched Kielpinski receive his commemorative plaque, said he was happy for his longtime friend and assistant.

“It’s pretty cool for him. He’s been around Meridian for a long time, and he’s always helped out with the baseball program, and he’s coached some football, and he’s always doing things around school for the kids,” Novak noted. “He’s a very positive role model. He does so many things not only for the school but also for the community, and we’re glad to have him here.”

A native of Standish, Kielpinski graduated from Standish-Sterling Central in 1985 and went on to coach and teach at Pinconning and Evart before eventually arriving at Meridian in 1997, where he has taught high school math, has taught junior high math and physical education, and has served as a behavioral specialist at the elementary school level.

In addition to coaching some junior varsity football at Meridian, Kielpinski coached JV baseball for about 15 years and has been a varsity assistant baseball coach for the past decade or so.

Asked what he enjoys most about coaching baseball, Kielpinski replied, “Just their different personalities and character traits – just learning about the kids and getting to know what they’re like and what they do besides baseball. That’s really cool.

“ … I love the game of baseball, and that’s why I love to coach kids. I love to see the athletes progress and grow as the season progresses,” he added. “I enjoy competition in any game I play or coach. I try to have fun with the kids, and I enjoy working with every one of them. I really enjoy having my two boys help out, too.”

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