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De La Salle alum, longtime coach returns to lead baseball program

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Warren Weekly | Published September 29, 2017

 Warren De La Salle graduate Dave Zelmanski, who graduated from the school in 1974, has been named as the school’s new baseball coach. The Pilots next season will vie for a fifth state title.

Warren De La Salle graduate Dave Zelmanski, who graduated from the school in 1974, has been named as the school’s new baseball coach. The Pilots next season will vie for a fifth state title.

Photo provided by Warren De La Salle athletics

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WARREN — A native son has returned.

Dave Zelmanski will be Warren De La Salle’s next baseball coach.
Zelmanski is a 1974 graduate of the school.

“De La Salle is a very special place, and it takes exceptional student-athletes to compete in the (Catholic High School League) Central Division,” said Zelmanski, who was a four-year starter for the Pilots during his time as a student, in a prepared statement. “I am truly honored and excited, yet humbled to have this opportunity at the greatest all-boys school on the planet.”

Zelmanski takes over for Matt Cook, who coached the team for seven years and led the squad to a 2016 Division 1 state championship, one of four total for the program. Cook took teaching and coaching positions in the Grandville Public Schools district, according to De La Salle Athletic Director Mike Watson, who commended Cook for his work with the program.

Zelmanski, who is a Shelby Township resident, began coaching in 1979 when he took a graduate assistant position with Wayne State University. He also played baseball at WSU from 1975 to 1978, starting for four years and later being inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.

Zelmanski went on to coach football at Grosse Pointe North and served as varsity football coach at the former St. Clement High in Center Line. He has also coached competitive fast-pitch softball at the Catholic Youth Organization level.

Zelmanski — who had tryouts with the California Angels and Cincinnati Reds — had a 10-year career with a Class A amateur baseball team. In 2001, he was inducted into the De La Salle Hall of Fame.

“Dave Zelmanski represents a connection between De La Salle Collegiate’s past and its present,” Watson said in a statement. “(Zelmanski’s) charisma, excitement for De La Salle and his willingness to maintain our baseball program as one of the best in Michigan will be on display for all to see.”

Watson said 30 prospective coaches applied for the position, and nine candidates were interviewed.

What set Zelmanski apart, Watson told C & G Sports on Sept. 26, was his connection to the school.

“The overriding factor is that we want the best coach for the kids,” Watson said.

“(Zelmanski) offers so much in the way of connections to De La Salle, his heritage as a player, seeing as he’s probably played more than 1,000 baseball games. He’s got coaching experience, including having coached at a Catholic school. He’s been away from baseball coaching for a while, but we feel his enthusiasm, his love for De La Salle, and his perspective as a player, coach and official will be wonderful assets for the kids.”

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