TEMPERANCE — Wrestling has been an important part of Edd Bankowski’s life since he was young.
But he’s the first to admit he did not excel at the sport when he competed on teams at Bedford High School and Western Michigan University.
That all changed when he became a coach.
At Bedford Junior High, where he taught physical education from 1971 to 2010, Mr. Bankowski was a standout wrestling coach for 18 years.
His young grapplers had a total record of 200 wins and four losses. He coached 14 undefeated teams and won 59 consecutive tournaments. Many of his wrestlers starred in high school. One of his wrestlers included Kevin Vogel, the varsity wrestling coach.
On Oct. 19, the Bedford High School Alumni Association will induct him into its Hall of Fame, along with seven former standout athletes and a volleyball team, in a ceremony in the high school cafeteria.
“It’s very exciting,” Mr. Bankowski said. “I feel very honored.”
The inductions will follow a 7 p.m. dinner. Call Lisa Pickard at the high school at 734-850-6106 or visit bedfordyes.com/BedfordAlumniAssocHallofFame.htm.
Mr. Bankowski was key in starting the Great Lakes Wrestling Club at Bedford for grade-school boys. Eighteen of his junior high wrestlers became state champions at the varsity level.
“He gave his wrestlers a head start over many others at the high school level,” said Chuck Faller, alumni association president.
Other honorees are:
● Tom Estes: High school class of 1953. He played baseball for three years and football, basketball, and track all four years. He was captain of the 1955 football team and set football and basketball records.
● Eugene Holey: Class of 1949. He earned 12 varsity letters in four sports. He was captain of the football team and most valuable player in 1948. In 1949, he batted over .400 for the baseball team.
● Jeff Holly: Class of 1979. He quarterbacked the football team for three years. He broke five school records in 1978. In 1979, he was named All-Great Lakes League and Monroe County Offensive Player of the Year. He earned a full football scholarship to Western Michigan University.
● Bob Lambert: Class of 1990. He played varsity baseball for four years and football for three. As a junior, he racked up 167 tackles for a single-season school record. He was named to the Great Lakes League First Team his junior and senior years. As a senior, he was the football team captain and Monroe County Defensive Player of the Year.
● Bill Salisbury: Class of 1977. He was football team captain in 1976 and 1977. He was a all-league linebacker and a fullback who rushed for more than 1,000 yards his junior year. He took the individual state wrestling title in 1977.
● Kevin Taylor: Class of 1970. He played on the 1970 district championship basketball team and the league championship baseball team that year. He played football for three years at Bowling Green State University and was varsity football coach at Kalkaska High School for 15 years.
● Bill Zgorzelski: Class of 1971. Known as “Mr. Baseball,” he batted an average .429 in high school and led Monroe County as a junior with a .479 average. As a junior, his three home runs set a record for the most in a game. He played college baseball at St. Clair Community College.
● The 2001 volleyball team: These young women took the state championship and finished the season with an 82-1 record: Lindi Bankowski, Jill Blanton, Amy Czupich, Shawna Jan, Katie Jefferson, Erica Kaczorowski, Julia Kirkwood, Melissa Meinhart, Cassandra Mohrbach, Rachael Pelhank, Abbie Riddle, and Jennifer Sulewski. Jodi Manore was the head coach; her assistant was Denise Wiczynski.