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John Govek, Lakeland College's top assistant baseball coach for the past three seasons and a part of the Muskies' baseball program for nearly a decade, has been named Lakeland's new head baseball coach.
Govek, who will guide the Muskies through the 2005 season, is a 2001 Lakeland graduate who played for the Muskies and served as a graduate assistant before taking over as an assistant coach five years ago.
"I'm thrilled to be a head coach at my alma mater," Govek said. "Having the chance to lead this program is a great opportunity, and it means a lot to me personally. I've spent my entire college baseball career at Lakeland, and being a head coach here has always been a goal."
In announcing his hiring, Lakeland Athletic Director Jane Bouche said: "John demonstrated in his interview a passion for this program and some very concrete plans for the next chapter in Lakeland baseball. We're excited to be able to give John this opportunity and will do whatever we can to help him excel."
Govek, whose main on-field responsibility has been the pitching staff, has played a major role in Lakeland's recent success, which has included four straight Lake Michigan Conference championships, NCAA Tournament appearances in 2002 and 2003 and the school record for wins in three out of the last five seasons.
The Wausau native has coached six all-LMC pitchers and had consecutive pitchers earn LMC Player of the Year honors in 2002 and 2003. In 2002 he coached the first All-American player in the program's history, pitcher Steve Plucinski. Two of the four no-hitters pitched in Lakeland history have come during his tenure.
Govek started at Lakeland as a pitcher/first baseman, but became a student assistant for two seasons after a knee injury limited his playing career. He became the graduate assistant in his third year before moving to his current status half way through the school year.
Although his main on-field responsibility was pitching, Govek has assisted with every aspect of the program, including recruiting, field maintenance and strength and conditioning. He also served as the college's assistant sports information director, and during the 2000 and 2001 seasons was field manager for the Howards Grove AC's baseball team.
Govek, who resides in New Holstein, earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Lakeland in 2001.
Govek replaces former Lakeland coach John Weber.
Lakeland also announced Govek's staff, which will include Lakeland graduates Chris Thousand and Dan Rauwerdink as assistant coaches and Lakeland senior Mike Bachar as a student assistant.
Thousand, a 2003 Lakeland graduate, has been an assistant coach for the past two seasons, and will continue as the Muskies' hitting coach. The Barneveld, Wis., native had a standout career with the Muskies, which included some clutch pitching performances during the World Series run in 2002. He is ranked in 14 different categories in the Lakeland record book.
Rauwerdink, who graduated this past May with a degree in Spanish, earned first team all-LMC honors as a senior. Rauwerdink was 3-1 in conference play and finished with the league's second-best earned run average at 1.74 and held opponents to a miniscule .186 batting average (fourth in the LMC). The Sheboygan native was also a first team all-LMC golfer.
Bachar, a first team all-LMC shortstop last season, will coach the infield as a student assistant while he finishes his undergraduate degree. Bachar hit .317 with five doubles and 12 runs batted in from the leadoff spot. He led the conference in walks (16), was fifth in runs scored (17) and had the fourth most defensive assists (44) while being a vacuum up the middle.