GEORGE WEST – For 39 years, George West High School teacher and coach Chuck Pawelek, who has announced his retirement, has been a mainstay on the diamond, coaching either baseball or softball, including leading a talented team of Lady Longhorns to the 2010 state championship in softball.
That team included All-Star Maggie Ham, who struck out 16 opposing batters in the state championship game against Brock, and also scored the game-winning run in a 1-0 victory and also earning Most Valuable Player honors in the title contest.
Of his 39 years coaching, Pawelek spent 24 of those in George West.
“Chuck had some outstanding athletes, but if you look at the number of 1-0 games and extra inning wins, it’s clear that he did some great coaching,” said Richard Waterhouse, principal of George West High School.
Waterhouse said that while Pawelek is an excellent coach, he’s an even better role model.
“Even after the season, he’s teaching, coaching and modeling positive behavior,” Waterhouse said.
When mistakes are made, Pawelek isn’t one to chew a player out, but instead offers positive reinforcement, Waterhouse added.
“He doesn’t blow up — he quietly tells them the right way to do things and he also works very well with parents,” Waterhouse said.
In times of success or stress, victory or defeat, Pawelek has represented the school and the team with the same leadership qualities, Waterhouse said.
“He’s been a tremendous role model and very steady, showing strong character,” Waterhouse said. “He shows the teams how to win or lose with class and dignity. Everything is not easy, but Chuck is the same steady guy no matter how things are going. Life throws you some stuff and you get tested, but he’s a pro either way.” Waterhouse said while Pawelek’s athletic success is easy to recognize, he appreciates Pawelek from another perspective, as well.
“As a principal, I look for someone who has good character and is a talented teacher,” Waterhouse said. “That’s a special quality, and teachers like Chuck are giving kids life lessons that will serve them well long into the future.”
Jeff Osborne is the editor of The Progress. He can be reached at 361-786-3022 or firstname.lastname@example.org.