MD Sports Editor George Pohly inducted into Macomb County Coaches Hall of Fame for distinguished service – The Oakland Press

An old-school coach sat behind the backstop of Jimmy John’s Field this spring, regaling a reporter with stories while he watched his own son’s team play an early season baseball game, the words coming out at the same pace as the steady drizzle.

When the conversation turned to which publications the reporter was writing for, and that included the Macomb Daily, the coach’s eyes lit up.

“Oh, George Pohly? I’ve known George forever,” said former Fraser baseball and football coach Mario Borrocci, whose son, Brett, is the head baseball coach at L’Anse Creuse. “Tell him I said hi.”

In Macomb County sports circles, EVERYONE has known George Pohly forever, it seems.

“Everybody knows George. Everybody,” said Warren Regina athletic director Diane Laffey, whose basketball and softball teams have been covered by Pohly and his staff since the school moved from Harper Woods in 2007. “He’s a great guy.”

That status as a sports institution is a large part of the reason he was inducted earlier this week into the Macomb County Coaches Hall of Fame for distinguished service to athletics in the county. He was one of 19 inductees honored at a banquet Wednesday night at Mirage in Clinton Township, 14 of them coaches, with five more — like Pohly — contributors to Macomb County athletics.

“It’s a tremendous honor. I’m grateful to all of the administrators and coaches who have welcomed me to their schools and events over the years. The Macomb Daily was an important part of the community long before I joined the staff. I’ve always felt a responsibility to continue that, to add to the work that was done by Jim Porter, Bernie Kennedy, Chuck Klonke and others who preceded me and worked with me,” Pohly said.

George Pohly
Macomb Daily Sports Editor George Pohly (MediaNews Group file photo)

“High school sports are played by teenagers, but they’re the domain of adults — the coaches, administrators and support staffers who make them happen. I’m awed to be included in an organization that honors the best the county has had. The hall of fame is one means by which the history of county sports is being preserved, which I think is and will be important to future athletes and coaches.”

See also  Was ist nicht in meiner Brieftasche? | Nachrichten, Sport, Jobs

Like so many sports-related events over the past four decades, Pohly was the reporter on site to cover the event for the Macomb Daily, preserving the moment for posterity.

He’s been doing that since 1984, when he joined the staff — after cutting his teeth as an intern with the Pistons, then writing for Basketball Weekly and the Football News — as Klonke was on his way out, headed to the Royal Oak Daily Tribune. Four years later, Pohly was elevated to sports editor, a post he’s held since.

And, coming full circle, Klonke now writes for Pohly.

“George and I have formed something of a bond because we both grew up on dairy farms. Every once in a while something will remind us of those days and we’ll know what the other one is talking about. When COVID brought about the hand washing mandate, George said ‘my hands haven’t been this clean since my milking days.’ I knew exactly what he was talking about because you had to wash the cows before you could put the milk machine on them. I’m sure the days on the farm had something to do with George’s work ethic. The cows had to be milked twice a day with no exceptions, and it meant getting up before the crack of dawn for the morning milking. And when the hay was ready for baling, it didn’t matter if the temperature was 90 degrees and the humidity was the same. The hay had to be brought in before it rained,” Klonke said.

See also  High school sports roundup (May 11) – Baltimore Sun

“However, what I admire most about George are the things he did for his brother. Mark was disabled but George made sure he was able to enjoy life. George took Mark to games, auto races and on camping trips, anything to make Mark’s life more pleasant. When Mark died last year, George was devastated. He had lost his best friend.”

Klonke had nothing but the highest praise for Pohly’s organizational skills, putting together the all-county football and basketball banquets the paper used to host, as well as the county track meet. Hundreds of unseen hours went into buying T-shirts and hats, writing speeches.

“Talk to any coach in Macomb County and they’ll have nothing but the highest praise for George’s work,” Klonke said.

The same can be said for his co-workers, the guys who shared the camaraderie of the newsroom, the dinner runs, the deadline pressure, the never-ending grind to produce the ‘daily miracle’ that is a newspaper.

“He took great pride in his work, his family and friends. He knew he had a responsibility to cover sports in Macomb County with accuracy, fairness, respect and compassion,” said Chuck Pleiness, who worked alongside Pohly from 1993 to 2017, in one capacity or another. “He was the best boss any reporter can have asked to have. He’s truly one of my closest friends to this day.”

Pohly’s bosses feel the same way.

“George Pohly is an institution in Macomb County sports. Coaches respect him and athletes, parents and fans look forward to his work. George has a knack for going beyond the final score to recognize the hard work and dedication of Macomb County teams and individuals. The attention to detail and care he provides is reflected in the great work he produces for The Macomb Daily,” said Jeff Payne, the paper’s managing editor. “This honor is well-deserved.”

See also  The 'parent lens' of success in school sports

Jeff Kuehn, the regional sports editor for MediaNews Group/Michigan, felt the same.

“Oh, the number of stories George Pohly has written over the years, the great games involving Macomb County’s best athletes and teams. George has been a witness to it all and has worked tirelessly to accurately document what he has seen,” Kuehn said. “Everyone associated with high school sports in Macomb knows who George is.”

The fact that Pohly’s love of all sports — not just basketball and football — bled through into his writing and coverage wasn’t lost on the people he was covering, either.

“He knows the game in the different sports. That’s, as you know, that’s a big thing to get acclimated to all the different sports. Yeah, that’s really nice to have,” said Duane Anger, the longtime softball coach at Macomb Lutheran North. “The Macomb Daily has always done a terrific job covering athletics.”

That hasn’t been as easy as it once was, with industry cutbacks leading to diminished staff sizes. The fact that Pohly has made every effort to maintain the same standards hasn’t been lost on the people he’s covering, either.

“I mean, I don’t know how he can do it by himself,” Laffey said. “He’s a great guy. I just admire the fact that he’s worked so hard to keep that sports section going, because it’s just him. … He does the best he can with what he’s got, I’ll tell ya.”