Years ago, the great John Wooden wrote a book entitled “They Call Me Coach.”
It was highly appropriate for the legendary UCLA coach, who loved his profession and had no equal when it came to winning championships and teaching life lessons.
Mike Rowinski, who shockingly passed away yesterday morning of a blood disorder, was never as successful as Wooden, but his passion for coaching was just as great and no one could pay him a higher compliment than to call him coach.
This year, Rowinski was on a medical leave from his position as head coach of the Georgetown boys basketball team, where he posted a 95-79 record in eight years, but he’s coached all over. Coaching is what he did.
Rowinski played for Haverhill High, continued as a marginal player at Northern Essex Community College and, after getting a degree in education at St. Ambrose University in Iowa, returned to Northern Essex as an assistant.
From that point, Rowinski was a coach for virtually the rest of his life, at different places on different levels, in baseball as well as basketball.
He became head coach at Northern Essex and posted a 227-70 record in 13 years, usually doubling as the Knights’ baseball coach. He left to coach at Sanborn for three years and then moved to Michigan with his second wife, coaching little New Haven High to a 15-6 record and then leading Harper Woods High School to a 51-7 record in baseball, including a 26-2 mark and state crown his second year.
At Harper Woods, Rowinski also helped with the boys basketball team and then became head coach of the girls team there for two years.
But Rowinski missed the Merrimack Valley and returned, taking a teaching job in Saugus while looking to get back into coaching in the area. He helped out with the Haverhill Recreation youth program while looking for a suitable position.