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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Jan. 27 – A standout as a high school and college student-athlete in two sports and an accomplished athletic administrator – Gina Mazzolini of Lansing, assistant director at the Michigan High School Athletic Association – has been named the recipient of the 2009-10 Women In Sports Leadership Award by the Representative Council of the MHSAA.
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. The award will be presented during a banquet at the 19th Women In Sports Leadership Conference in Lansing on Feb. 7.
A 1974 graduate of St. Johns High School, where she received the first ever Female Athletic of the Year at the school, Mazzolini was a basketball and volleyball standout; moving on to Central Michigan University, where she also played both sports for four years. In basketball, she led the Chippewas in scoring and rebounding three straight seasons – averaging in double figures in both categories. She ranks eighth on CMU’s all-time career field goal percentage list at .496, and her 880 career rebounds is tied for fourth on that list. Mazzolini’s 24 rebounds against Wayne State in 1975 is still a school single-game mark. She was inducted into the CMU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.
After her 1978 graduation from CMU with a degree in Physical Education, Mazzolini spent a year at Ovid-Elsie High School as a teacher and coach in two sports. She then taught courses and served as an assistant volleyball coach at Michigan State University for two years while earning a Master’s Degree in Physical Education; followed by a year at the University of Texas at Austin where she also taught, was an assistant volleyball coach and interim women’s Sports Information Director. She has completed her course work towards a doctorate degree from the University of Texas.
In 1982, Mazzolini became an activities director with the University Interscholastic League, which is the service organization to high school activities in Texas. She became an assistant athletic director with the UIL in 1988, before returning to Michigan in 1993 to become an assistant director at the MHSAA.
At the MHSAA, Mazzolini is an administrator for skiing, swimming and diving, tennis and girls volleyball; handles the sanctioning of out-of-state competitions; and is the point person on foreign exchange student issues for the Association. She has served on the board of directors for the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel, which identifies, promotes and supports international youth exchange programs.
Mazzolini has also served on National Federation of State High School Associations rules committees in soccer, swimming and diving, and volleyball; and was the chair of the Volleyball Rules Committee from 2004 to 2008. She has also been a member of the NFHS advisory committees for athletic directors and sports medicine.
In the community, Mazzolini is a member of the selection committee for the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame, and is on the board of directors for the All Saints Episcopal Church.
“This award provides long overdue recognition for Gina, whose career as a player and administrator in Michigan and her contributions at the national level are unmatched,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, Executive Director of the MHSAA.
The honoring of Mazzolini brings to 24 the number of Women In Sports Leadership Award recipients. 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
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by over 1,600 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 approximately 1.6 million spectators each year.
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