An Extraordinary Choice

A decade and a half ago when there was a vacancy on the staff of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, my colleague Randy Allen mentioned that I should take a look at an impressive young guy from southwest Michigan. A guy I had never met, or even heard of. A 29-year-old by the name of Mark Uyl.

I did take a look, and a second, and a third. Given his youth, I realized this might be the first person I would hire who not only would outlast me on the MHSAA staff, but who also would be both youthful enough and experienced enough to lead the MHSAA after me.

When, at the conclusion of the Representative Council’s spring meeting on Monday, MHSAA President Scott Grimes announced the selection of Mark Uyl to be the next MHSAA executive director, he said, “It was the easiest decision of the weekend.”

I consider the assembly of an outstanding MHSAA staff, and the swift succession of Mark Uyl to executive director, to be among the most significant contributions of my turn to lead the MHSAA.

Mark has the philosophy, people skills and practical knowledge of local school sports that made him the obvious choice. His connections and communication skills make him an extraordinary choice. He will do great things during his turn to lead this extraordinary organization.

Posted in: Leadership


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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 45 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for nine years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is chair of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation for 2018.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.