They say that bad things come in threes, but sometimes good things do too. At least they do for George Bitner.
It’s been a whirlwind of recognition for the Spring Lake golf coach this summer. After being honored for 50 years in the business by the Lakers, Bitner was named boys national coach of the year by USA Today. And now another national body has recognized him, as the National High School Coaches Association named him boys high school coach of the year.
“I was really surprised,” Bitner said. “At first I thought it was the other national coaches association (the National High School Athletic Coaches Association). I was lying in bed one night thinking about it. I was in the final eight in the other national association in 2012 and they only do it every five years. And I started counting in bed and it didn’t add up. Then I looked at the title and the letters in the name are different. … I have a hunch that they saw USA today gave me the coach of the year and they jumped on the bandwagon.”
Bitner said that he thought the honor from USA Today came from the publicity of his open house for 50 years in coaching.
He certainly has had quite a tenure at Spring Lake.
The boys have garnered an .820 winning percentage under his watch. Spring Lake added a girls program in 1980, which has fared even better, winning 83 percent of its matches over the years. He has advanced to the state finals with either an individual, individuals or an entire team 27 times.
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