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EAST LANSING, Mich. – March 8 – A valued voice both for female athletes and educational athletics as a whole, Ann Arbor Huron administrator Dottie Davis has worked nearly 40 years to create opportunities for high school students to excel. To recognize her vast contributions, Davis will receive the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s 30th Women In Sports Leadership Award during the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association conference March 19 in Traverse City.
Each year, the Representative Council considers the achievements of women coaches, officials and athletic administrators affiliated with the MHSAA who show exemplary leadership capabilities and positive contributions to athletics.
Davis was a three-sport athlete at both Ypsilanti High School and then Eastern Michigan University before becoming a teacher, coach and later administrator for the last 39 years, along the way making significant contributions especially in the development of girls sports that didn’t exist as part of the MHSAA’s tournament offerings during her scholastic career.
“I always wanted the best for our female athletes. They need somebody to be their voice, and I’m all about being positive and what can we do to change and make things better for the women of today,” Davis said. “I think through that, people listen, and we get a chance to make improvements for kids coming up.
“I love being a pioneer and trying to make it better for those that follow. I have such a passion for sports that I want them to be the best for both male and female athletes. I’m glad women are now finally getting recognition they deserve, and it’s kinda cool to hand off the baton to the next person.”
A 1971 graduate of Ypsilanti High, and 1978 grad of Eastern Michigan University – she took off three years from studies after high school to care for her mother, who was recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning at the time – Davis took her first job out of college at Byron High School during the 1978-79 school year, teaching and coaching volleyball, basketball and softball.
She moved closer to home the next fall, joining the staff at Huron as a teacher, and she went on to also coach a variety of sports: varsity volleyball for five seasons from 1979-84, girls varsity basketball from 1980-92 first for eight seasons as head coach and then as an assistant, varsity softball a total of 10 seasons between 1980-2006, and a season each of boys freshman basketball in 2003 and varsity tennis in 1987. She became Huron’s athletic director heading into the 2005-06 school year.
Davis has contributed on various MHSAA committees, and she has hosted a number of tournaments at the District and Regional levels and also sessions for the MHSAA’s Coaches Advancement Program. In addition, she served as an MHSAA registered official in basketball from the 1992 season through the end of that decade, and also five years each for softball and volleyball.
“Dottie Davis is a fantastic advocate for girls sports and simply an awesome administrator – she’s a great role model for all students and continues to provide a strong voice in support of female athletes,” MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said. “We’re delighted to present Dottie with the Women In Sports Leadership Award.”
Davis earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from EMU in health and physical education/fitness. She was inducted in 1990 into EMU’s Athletic Hall of Fame for earning a combined 10 letters in volleyball, basketball and track & field, and later inducted as well into Huron’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
In addition to those accolades, Davis was inducted as a player into both the United States Slow-pitch Softball Association Hall of Fame in 1985 and Michigan Softball Hall of Fame in 1986, and also was named USSSA-deBEER Richard Pollack Memorial “Sportswoman of the Year” in 1986. She has been part of 20 softball world championships.
Davis is a member of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) and National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA), as well as the Michigan Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD), and the Association for Supervision and Curricular Development (ASCD).
The first Women In Sports Leadership Award was presented in 1990. Past recipients are:
1990 – Carol Seavoy, L’Anse
1991 – Diane Laffey, Harper Woods
1992 – Patricia Ashby, Scotts
1993 – Jo Lake, Grosse Pointe
1994 – Brenda Gatlin, Detroit
1995 – Jane Bennett, Ann Arbor
1996 – Cheryl Amos-Helmicki, Huntington Woods
1997 – Delores L. Elswick, Detroit
1998 – Karen S. Leinaar, Delton
1999 – Kathy McGee, Flint
2000 – Pat Richardson, Grass Lake
2001 – Suzanne Martin, East Lansing
2002 – Susan Barthold, Kentwood
2003 – Nancy Clark, Flint
2004 – Kathy Vruggink Westdorp, Grand Rapids
2005 – Barbara Redding, Capac
2006 – Melanie Miller, Lansing
2007 – Jan Sander, Warren Woods
2008 – Jane Bos, Grand Rapids
2009 – Gail Ganakas, Flint; Deb VanKuiken, Holly
2010 – Gina Mazzolini, Lansing
2011 – Ellen Pugh, West Branch; Patti Tibaldi, Traverse City
2012 – Janet Gillette, Comstock Park
2013 – Barbara Beckett, Traverse City
2014 – Teri Reyburn, DeWitt
2015 – Jean LaClair, Bronson
2016 – Betty Wroubel, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,400 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.