BOWLING GREEN — Mark Malinowski has spent the last nine years coaching junior high basketball.
The former Bowsher coach (1999-2004) is returning to the high school level after being named the Bowling Green boys coach last week.
Malinowski, 55, doesn't believe his newest situation is any different from the one he's held for nearly a decade at Springfield Middle School.
"Coaching is coaching," said Malinowski. "I've coached from elementary to the college level. When you're coaching you're coaching."
Malinowski's hire fills a void that initially became open earlier this summer when Von Graffin was not offered a contract to return after holding the job for 11 years. Graffin's assistant, Gary Gardner, had been named as the head coach in July, but resigned shortly after accepting the job.
BG athletic director Scott Seeliger said Malinowski was one of several candidates the administration determined was a good fit to take over the Bobcats, who claimed two Northern Lakes League championships (2003, 2011) during Graffin's tenure.
"The board OK'd his hire on Friday," Seeliger said. "Seven coaches showed interest in the job or we contacted.
"I liked his coaching background. He coached with [former Springfield coach] Tim Reiser, who I think is a good coach. He's coached the seventh and eighth-grade programs at Springfield Middle School and that shows he's a teacher. He has a nice intensity and a passion for the game and is very organized."
Malinowski finished with a 31-67 record at Bowsher. One of his players was former University of Toledo standout Keith Triplett.
Malinowski, a Whitmer graduate, led the Springfield junior high program to a 41-0 record over a two-year stretch a few years ago. That group is currently sophomores at Springfield. Those teams played against Bowling Green middle school.
However, Malinowski said he doesn't recall much from those encounters. His first chance to meet with members of last year's Bobcats team, which finished 14-11 overall and won a sectional title, was Tuesday.
Malinowski looks forward to having involvement with the development of the players coming up through the school district in the grade schools.
"I can reach down through the schools and build the program through the younger players," he said. "When I met the administrators I was very impressed. It just felt like it was a good fit."
Graffin uncertain about future of coaching
Von Graffin doesn't know what the future holds for him as a basketball coach.
The former Bowling Green coach, who was not offered an opportunity to renew his coaching contract, still has a desire to coach.
But he's not sure if he'll coach on a full-time basis anytime soon.
"If I took a year off and if I'm done coaching forever, I'm fine," said Graffin, who had a 148-94 record at BG. "I want to coach.
"Maybe I'll coach AAU basketball in the spring and that will give me my basketball fix."
A 29-year employee with Toledo Public Schools, Graffin, 53, is an in-school suspension official at Rogers.
He has spoken with Rogers boys coach Earl Morris and Rogers girls coach Lamar Smith about assisting in their programs.
But there have been some positives.
"I've enjoyed not having to go to the weightroom early in the morning," he said. "This year I can just point my finger and say where's the best high school basketball game to go and see in all of northwest Ohio."
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