He has achieved so much during a long and successful career as a high-school head baseball coach that it’s hard to determine what is his biggest accomplishment.
Being recently inducted into the National High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, as one of eight 2021 inductees, certainly would have to rank significantly high on any list for Mark “Pudge” Gjormand. The coach of 26 seasons for the Madison Warhawks was inducted in Scottsdale, Ariz., the weekend of Dec. 3 and 4.
He was the first coach from Virginia to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
An entourage, including Gjormand’s family, former players, coaching assistant and peers, former Madison administrators and others attended the banquet, filling up some six tables.
“It was an amazing and special weekend and an honor. It was so awesome to see so many at the banquet and former players,” Gjormand said. “There are just so many to thank. It’s all the memories that makes all of this so special. I’m living a dream and so proud of being the Madison baseball coach.”
The Oakton High School graduate became Madison’s head coach in 1996. Since, he has amassed 446 career wins, won three state championships, four region titles, 17 district crowns and 44 championships altogether. He also runs a travel-baseball program, various camps and an international travel program for sports teams.
One of Gjormand’s goals when named Madison’s head coach was to make the Warhawks a national program. That has happened. During spring-break tournaments over the years, Madison has won 14 games against nationally-ranked teams.
Madison received big recognition from the NHSBCA in 2002 when the Warhawks finished 29-0 in winning a state championship to earn a No. 2 national ranking. Gjormand has received Coach of the Year honors from the NHSBCA. The coach has been involved with the NHSBCA in various manners over the years, including being a past president.
Gjormand’s high-school coaching career began as an assistant at Langley High School, followed by a long-time assistant position under Dean Sissler at Marshall High School. He was hired at Madison by then director of student activities Charlie Ostlund. Gjormand still continues to thank Ostlund for that opportunity.
“When I got a job like that, you just want to prove you belong,” Gjormand said.
Said Ostlund: “When he interviewed, we saw his big-picture thing to elevate the program. He did that and delivered in spades and took the program to the next level. Pudge is a hustler who doesn’t tire, and he can motivate kids.”
Mark Merrell was one of Gjormand’s principals at Madison. He attended the Hall of Fame banquet and later spoke about Gjormand’s hiring process years ago at Madison.
“The thing we were thinking about Pudge was not only would he do well, but he would make Madison baseball something else, and he did,” Merrell said. “He gets players to buy into what he wants, gets them to play better than they are and gets teams to play at that level, as well. He has that secret sauce and he is great for kids.”