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Bitner to celebrate 50 years of coaching

Nich Wolak • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:27 PM
nwolak@grandhaventribune.com 616-842-6400 ext. 229

He was following in the footsteps of his mother, Helen Mae, who was also a teacher. But his father, William, a chemical engineer, didn't think too much of that. 

"I knew when I was a kid," the 77-year-old Bitner said. "My dad asked me what I wanted to do in college. I said … I wanted to be a teacher and a coach. He said 'Hell, anyone can do that.'"

But not too many can do it like George Bitner can — and even fewer can match his longevity. 

The current season marks the 50th that Bitner has been preparing athletes for competition in one form or another. He will be honored at an open house at the Spring Lake Country Club on Sunday from 3-6 p.m.

When you consider he’s coached the boys’ teams for 46 seasons and the girls since the inception of the program in 1980 — another 35 years — Bitner has guided Lakers’ golf teams for an astounding 81 seasons.

Bitner said he hoped to coach golf for about another five years, although he noted that his wife Eunice claims he won't quit until he’s “in a pine box.”

Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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