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Lansing’s Sam Davis Named Vern L. Norris Award Winner

Contact: John Johnson or Geoff Kimmerly
517.332.5046 or media@mhsaa.com

EAST LANSING, Mich. – April 16 – Lansing’s Sam Davis, one of the most accomplished wrestling officials in Michigan high school history and president of the Lansing Wrestling Officials Association for more than two decades, has been selected to receive the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Vern L. Norris Award for 2015.

The Norris Award is presented annually to a veteran official who has been active in a local officials association, has mentored other officials, and has been involved in officials’ education. It is named for Vern L. Norris, who served as executive director of the MHSAA from 1978-86 and was well-respected by officials on the state and national levels.

Davis will be honored at the Officials’ Awards & Alumni Banquet on May 2 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. He is in his 35th year as an MHSAA-registered official, working wrestling during the entirety of his career and baseball seven of the last eight seasons. 

Davis has officiated 26 MHSAA Team Wrestling Finals – or all but two in the event’s 28-season history. Including the individual tournament, Davis has worked 33 Finals in wrestling after receiving his first MHSAA championship-level assignment in 1983.

He also worked 32 years in Lansing Public Schools as a teacher, coach and later assistant principal, principal and district athletic director.

“To be recognized for being able to help a sport you love, and are still actively involved in, it can’t really get much better than that,” Davis said. “I love being out on the mat, talking with kids, talking with coaches.

“Every year I train my officials to be State Finals officials. That doesn’t mean that’s where they’ll be. But I expect them to treat every dual meet, every tournament, like the State Finals, because it means that much to every kid.”

Davis, 64, was an MHSAA Wrestling Finals individual champion at 165 pounds as a senior at Lansing Eastern High School in 1969 and also a significant contributor when the Quakers won the Class A team championship in 1968. Davis then joined Michigan State University’s wrestling program but suffered an eye injury as a freshman that forced him to give up competing in the sport. However, he instead took up judo, winning state championships in 1980 and 1981 and competing at the U.S. Olympic trials.

Davis previously had officiated wrestling during the 1971-72 season and returned to the high school mat for good in 1981, beginning that winter his current 34-season run as an MHSAA registered official in the sport. He also officiated National Junior College Athletic Association Finals in 1981 and 1982. 

After graduating from MSU with bachelor and master’s degrees in 1974, Davis began his teaching career at Lansing Everett High School that fall. He taught history, psychology and U.S. government and coached wrestling and football and later served as an assistant principal at the school. Davis also served as principal at Dwight Rich Middle School and then district athletic director before finishing with Lansing Public Schools in 2007.

Davis is a lead teaching official at MHSAA wrestling clinics and also has served as Official in Charge, managing those working matches, at a number of MHSAA Wrestling Finals. He has served as president of the Lansing Wrestling Officials Association since 1992.

“Sam Davis’ passion for education shines through both on the mat and in how he stands as a leader in Michigan’s wrestling community, making impacts both visible but frequently behind the scenes as well,” MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said. “He continues to share his talents and expertise for the betterment of his local officials and also as a mentor statewide. We are pleased to recognize Sam Davis with the Vern L. Norris Award.”

Davis followed his career in education with another in law enforcement. At age 58, he attended the Mid-Michigan Police Academy at Lansing Community College and currently serves as a major with the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, serving as jail administrator. He’s been elected to multiple terms as chairperson of the Michigan Sheriff’s Association Jail Administrators Committee.

Davis also has participated in efforts for the Boys & Girls Club of Lansing and served on community boards for Lansing and Jackson-based Camp Highfields and the Capital Regional Community Foundation.

Previous recipients of the Norris Award are:

1992 – Ted Wilson, East Detroit
1993 – Fred Briggs, Burton
1994 – Joe Brodie, Flat Rock
1995 – Jim Massar, Flint
1996 – Jim Lamoreaux, St. Ignace
1997 – Ken Myllyla, Escanaba
1998 – Blake Hagman, Kalamazoo
1999 – Richard Kalahar, Jackson
2000 – Barb Beckett, Traverse City; Karl Newingham, Bay City
2001 – Herb Lipschultz, Kalamazoo
2002 – Robert Scholie, Hancock
2003 – Ron Nagy, Hazel Park
2004 – Carl Van Heck, Grand Rapids
2005 – Bruce Moss, Alma
2006 – Jeanne Skinner, Grand Rapids
2007 – Terry Wakeley, Grayling
2008 – Will Lynch, Honor
2009 – James Danhoff, Richland
2010 – John Juday Sr., Petoskey
2011 – Robert Williams, Redford
2012 – Lyle Berry, Rockford
2013 – Tom Minter, Okemos
2014 – Hugh R. Jewell, Detroit

High school game officials with 20, 30, 40, 45 and 50 years of service also will be honored at the Officials’ Awards & Alumni Banquet on May 2.

Fourteen officials with 50 or more years of service will be honored, along with 31 officials with 45 years. A 40-year award will be presented to 72 officials. In addition, 88 officials with 30 years and 167 officials with 20 years of experience will be honored. With the induction of this year’s group of 372, the honor roll of officials who have aided young student-athletes grows to 9,788 since the inception of the banquet in 1980.

Tickets for the banquet are available to the public and priced at $20. They will not be sold at the door. Tickets can be ordered by calling the MHSAA office at (517) 332-5046 or by sending the order form available at this link: http://www.mhsaa.com/portals/0/documents/officials/offbanq.pdf.

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. 

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(MEDIA ADVISORY – A complete listing of officials to be honored, in alphabetical order by city, is included in this release. We hope you will recognize any individuals from your area who have contributed over the years to interscholastic athletics. Members of the media interested in attending the banquet may contact Faye Verellen at the MHSAA office for complimentary tickets.)

MICHIGAN HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

20, 30, 40, 45 & 50-YEAR OFFICIALS

The officials on this list will receive their 20, 30, 40, 45 or 50-year service awards at the 36th annual Officials’ Awards & Alumni Banquet at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, in East Lansing on May 2, 2015.

20 YEAR OFFICIALSr
Ada - Christopher R. Becker
Alanson - Clark Hewitt
Alanson - David R. Sackett
Albion - Jeffrey M. Hawes
Alma - Kathleen A. Paul
Ann Arbor - John A. Nievierowski
Bad Axe - Kurt E. Dennis
Baldwin - Matthew C. Miller
Baroda - Richard D. Albers
Battle Creek - LaMont Horton
Battle Creek - Jeffrey D. Stevens
Battle Creek - Larry L. Wegener
Bay City - Ronald L. Leahy
Bellaire - Randall D. Thomas
Bellaire - Susan E. Thomas
Belleville - Terry Landoski
Benton Harbor - Kevin M. Burger
Bessemer - Mark K. Mazzon
Bowling Green - Jim Evans
Boyne City - Sidney J. DeCou
Boyne City - James E. Oppermann
Brownstown Township - Todd D. Skopczynski
Burton - Sami Khal
Burton - Robert G. Olsen
Byron Center - Robert D. Bird
Caledonia - Tina J. Hamp
Canton - Kenneth M. Letts
Canton - John J. Vichinsky Jr.
Carsonville - Roy D. Calahan
Cedar - Jeffery T. Ross
Cedar Springs - Philip G. Turner
Cedarville - Anthony D. Hakola
Chelsea - Martin B. Seyfried
Clare - Rachel A. Drake
Clarksville - Shane S. Risner
Clawson - Rene C. Brooks
Clinton Township - Scott R. Sheets
Coopersville - Joseph E. Meerman
Davison - Bryan K. Illig
Davison - Brock M. Rice
Dearborn - Roberto Marchetti
Detroit - Lakelvert O. Cosby
Detroit - Joseph R. Flowers Jr.
Detroit - Lawrence W. Miller
Detroit - George Richardson
Detroit - Craig E. VanNostrand
DeWitt - Michael F. Brya
Dorr - Steven M. Dobry
Ecorse - James I. Cooley
Escanaba - Candace Swetkis
Evart - Jeffrey A. Nadig
Flint - Stanley Beard
Flushing - Catherine A. Oostermeyer
Fountain - Duane R. Wolf
Gaylord - John M. Tithof
Gladwin - Randall A. Willford
Grand Blanc - Latrelle W. Holmes
Grand Haven - Kathy A. Niergarth
Grand Rapids - Michael K. Kapustka
Grand Rapids - Larry W. Rea
Grand Rapids - Robert S. Ruschmann
Grand Rapids - Randy R. Sheahan
Grand Rapids - Brett A. Svacha
Grand Rapids - Michael J. Wint
Grandville - Sarah M. DeBoe
Greenville - Mike D. Winegard
Grosse Pointe - Steven M. Garbarino
Harbor Springs - Ryan H. Zamarron
Harbor Springs - Glen E. Morse
Harper Woods - Todd E. Dunlap
Haslett - Scott D. Goldstein
Hillsdale - William J. Mullaly
Holland - Peggy A. Lintemuth
Holland - Matthew M. McCrea
Holland - Steven J. VanderLaan
Holland - Scott W. Vanderstoep
Holt - Daniel D. David
Houghton - James A. Weiler
Hudsonville - Kevin R. Kooiker
Hudsonville - Matthew D. Kuiper
Ithaca - Rodney W. Whitmore
Jackson - Michael J. Beasley
Jackson - Marla E. Grant
Jackson - Maynard L. Hartke
Jackson - Leonardo D. McClain
Jackson - Nelson D. Negus III
Jerome - Brad L. Brown
Kalamazoo - Charlie D. Westervelt
Kent City - Thomas L. Waid
Kentwood - Jaime A. Pilbeam
Lake City - Ross J. Bradley Sr
Lathrup Village - Darryl A. Alexander
Livonia - Debby E. Karabees-Betts
Livonia - Paul J. Mardeusz
Lowell - Michael D. Gannon
Ludington - Eric G. Case
Lyons - Fred D. Charles
Mancelona - Edward L. McCarty
Maple City - David A. Taberski
Marquette - Larry S. Benton
Marquette - Michael J. Caster
Martin - Kenneth W. Demann
Marysville - Clifford A. DuPuy
Milan - Karen E. Draves
Montrose - Wayne E. Shick
Munising - Pete Kelto
New Boston - Todd A. Drysdale
Newberry - Jason R. Depew
Newport - Larry J. Chinavare
Norton Shores - David J. McCowan
Novi - James L. Wright
Oak Park - Richard L. Kaczander
Okemos - David M. Hallman
Owosso - Ricky L. Hall
Owosso - Robert J. Pumford
Owosso - Janice M. Thompson
Parma - Jack E. McCloughan
Peck - William A. Burns
Perrysburg - Bob Sobecki
Petoskey - Paul D. Tunison
Portage - Todd R. Gooding
Portage - Donald J. Malz
Presque Isle - Candy P. Newton
Quinnesec - Robert D. Forstrom
Riley - John E. Gross
Royal Oak - Roland F. Barger
Royal Oak - Bernard D. Davis
Rudyard - Patrick J. VanSloten
Saginaw - Barry L. Damzyn
Sanford - Dave A. Jezowski
Southfield - Earl T. Swift
Sparta - William Kotchka
Sparta - Jim A. Lynema
St Charles - Alan J. Pumford
St Clair Shores - Stephen D. Corbett
St Johns - Chad M. Palmer
St Joseph - Richard L. Bloodworth
St Joseph - Stephen D. Petlick
Stanton - Michael J. Sharrah
Sterling Heights - Walter J. Kujawa
Swanton - Tom M. Balas
Sylvania - Robert L. Berkowitz
Tecumseh - Gary M. Urban
Temperance - Douglas L. Harpel
Traverse City - Daniel P. Kolosar
Traverse City - John M. Sawyer
Troy - Etem Veliu
Tustin - Paul E. Chilson
Unionville - Michael H. Bolzman
Vicksburg - James R. Boer
Walker - Jess W. Hollenbeck
Warren - David W. Brown
Warren - Kenneth M. Stefanski
Washington - Jerome Angelo
Wayland - Craig R. Williams
West Bloomfield - Brian C. Gurwin
West Branch - Frank A. Dame
West Branch - Michael R. Dematio
West Branch - David M. Gutierrez
Westland - Charles G. Heddle
Westland - Thomas G. Mueller
Whitmore Lake - Eric J. Radcliffe
Woodhaven - Bill Vidojevski
Wyandotte - Bruce W. White
Wyoming - James J. Hutchinson
Wyoming - Michael A. Warmouth
Ypsilanti - Stuart D. Hall
 
30 YEAR OFFICIALS
Alto - Warren Tanner
Bangor - Jeffrey R. Melvin
Bark River - Joe B. Knauf
Bay City - Charles A. Case
Bay City - William P. Heintskill
Bay City - William J. Jaynes
Bay City - Robert K. Nussear
Bay City - Cindy L. Tithof
Benzonia - Karen Leinaar
Beverly Hills - Gus T. Hughes
Big Rapids - Gordon F. Allers Sr.
Blissfield - Patrick L. Seiser
Boyne Falls - Craig W. Oldham
Brighton - Patrick A. Hanner
Canton - James D. Gagleard
Caro - Mandy J. Knox
Center Line - David W. Baumgart
Clarkston - Frederick A. Cavataio
Clinton Township - Jerrold Cohen
Clio - Jeffery T. Flynn
Davison - Frank R. Mar
Dearborn - Thomas P. Arsenault
Dearborn - Michael J. Gniewek
Dearborn Heights - Algirdas P. Norkunas
Detroit - Darryl C. Jones Sr.
DeWitt - Rob A. Stanaway
Dowagiac - Thomas W. Russom
East China - Timothy C. Heideman
Essexville - Lawrence E. Ouellette
Fennville - Lowell A. Winne Jr.
Fenton - Danny L. Harris
Fraser - Edward S. MacKool Jr.
Gobles - Michael G. Long
Grandville - Steven B. Kauffman
Grayling - Mark A. Golnick
Greenville - Mark K. Schoenfelder
Hartford - Terry R. Dixon
Hastings - Jason L. Sixberry
Hermansville - Steve A. La Coursier
Hillsdale - Daniel E. Snook
Howell - Nancy Y. Gregory
Howell - Richard W. Humphries
Ironwood - Dennis A. Mackey
Ithaca - James L. Gross
Jackson - Randy N. Hoenes
Kalamazoo - Stephen A. Monroe
Lambertville - Mark J. Dushane
Lapeer - Robert W. Thomas
Lawton - Michael F. Garvey
Livonia - Robert J. Peters
Macomb - Art S. Francisco
Manistee - John P. O'Hagan
Marlette - Fred Mroczek
Marysville - Patrick D. Sheehy
Mattawan - Robert M. Nicey
Menominee - James E. Peterson
Midland - Brian G. Roberts
Monroe - Richard M. Kehoe
Montague - Donald Jancek
Montague - Jeffrey L. Petersen
Muskegon - Rick A. DeBruyn
New Boston - Jerry Umin
Ottawa Lake - William F. Bisbee Jr.
Port Huron - James R. Bennett
Port Huron - Scott C. Tallmadge
Portage - Michael L. Bignell
Portland - Ross S. Martin
Ray - Menzel E. Newby
Rockford - Greg M. Apkarian
Roseville - Michael R. Keith Sr.
Royal Oak - David L. Smith
Sault Ste. Marie - David A. Blaskowski
Shelby Township - Timothy J. Woodby
St Joseph - Rodger A. Lockman
St Joseph - Gilbert J. Urban
Stevensville - Fredrick J. Smith
Swartz Creek - Ralph L. Ruddy
Taylor - Michael D. Mullin
Temperance - Carroll J. Selmek
Temperance - Charles Swanbeck
Traverse City - Kenneth M. Allen
Troy - James C. Charbeneau Jr.
Utica - Carl W. Territo
West Bloomfield - Patrick B. Paul
Whitmore Lake - Robert J. Henry
Wyoming - Jim "Skip" J. Spencer
Wyoming - Jeffrey M. Toombs

40 YEAR OFFICIALS
Ann Arbor - Jack L. Coffey
Atlanta - Eugene A. Marino
Battle Creek - Kendall A. Lewis
Bay City - Thomas F. Cole
Berrien Springs - Timothy A. Krieger
Bessemer - George Boline
Boyne City - Kirk D. Kujawski
Brighton - Bill T. Rubin
Brooklyn - Stanley G. Drewno
Brownstown Township - Joseph A. McCormick
Byron Center - James A. DeBruyn
Caledonia - Edward T. Hedgecock
Caledonia - Tom Hoffman
Canton - John A. Davidson
Caseville - Barry L. Zinger
Cedar Springs - David E. Bond
Clark Lake - Robert L. McComb Jr.
Clarkston - Eugene R. English Jr.
Clawson - Betty A. Wroubel
Detroit - Lawrence D. Freeman
Detroit - Billy L. Waters
Dowagiac - William L. Brooks
Essexville - Wayne T. Beckrow
Fremont - Daniel M. VandenBosch
Gladwin - Douglas A. Jacobson
Grand Rapids - Kenneth C. Fey
Grand Rapids - Robert G. Galvin
Grand Rapids - Dirk E. Pegman
Grand Rapids - Charles E. Picardy
Grand Rapids - Jeanne L. Skinner
Grosse Ile - James R. Knopp
Hamilton - Wayne G. Cotts
Haslett - David E. Gillison
Hemlock - Rudy Godefroidt
Houghton - Robert Backon
Howell - L. Lee Piepho 
Howell - Dennis M. Troshak
Ironwood - James K. Krznarich
Jackson - Michael C. French
Kent City - Robert J. Sarachman
Lansing - Ken J. Sudall
Livonia - Arthur R. Opalach
Livonia - Roger R. Pattee
Lowell - David A. Mersman
Luzerne - Thomas A. Kemp
Manistee - Michael J. Gielczyk
Manton - Burton Harrison
Marysville - Mark A. Brochu
Mason - Victor T. Cena
Michigan Center - Charles D. Sprang
Muskegon - James A. Goorman
Negaunee - Steven R. Ayotte
Northville - Michael S. D'Agostino
Ontonagon - Eugene Fiszer
Oregon - Kevin C. Kelly
Otisville - Lorna Kelly
Pittsford - Chuck Pelham
Rogers City - Gerald Purgiel
Royal Oak - Carol A. Sheldon
Smiths Creek - Jud D. Kastner
Southfield - Thomas R. Sullivan Jr.
St Clair Shores - Thomas L. Driscoll
St Clair Shores - Fusako Hines
Taylor - Terry H. Styer
Tekonsha - Daniel A. Washburn
Traverse City - Kerry E. Glaesmer
Trenton - Robert Bolak
Trenton - Evelyn Langlands
Trenton - Lloyd L. Slinglend
Vicksburg - Richard L. Simon
Whitmore Lake - Charles E. Lindsay
Wyandotte - Michael R. McMahon

45 YEAR OFFICIALS
Byron Center - Joe A. Zomerlei
Cheboygan - William B. Watkins
Clio - Anthony J. Leonardo
Custer - Edward C. Miller
Essexville - Donald A. Rose Sr.
Fair Haven - John E. Folske
Grand Rapids - Douglas E. Plasman
Grand Rapids - Dennis J. Rothenthaler
Grand Rapids - Thomas M. Vincent
Hudson - Michael A. McCullough
Iron Mountain - David W. Nobert
Ishpeming - David J. St. Onge
Kingsford - Joseph R. Reddinger
Lowell - Curtis J. Cummings
Manitou Beach - Walter P. Szczechowski
Marshall - Bruce H. Murphy
Monroe - Albert M. Fernandez
Muskegon - Larry T. Vaandering
New Baltimore - James C. Cleverley
Okemos - Tom Woiwode
Onsted - John M. Springer
Plymouth - James P. Walsh
Redford - Robert J. Williams
Royal Oak - Paul M. Engelberts
Saginaw - Hugh R. Matson
Sanford - Charles P. Russian
Shelby Township - Frank A. Talerico
Vassar – H.  Dan Johnson
Warren - Dennis Bankey
Waterford - Burton Hurshe
Wyoming - Daniel J. Schultz

50 YEAR OFFICIALS
Algonac - Charles S. Cameron II
Alma - Dar E. Peska
Delta - Robert E. Hays
Detroit - Geraldine Jackson
Grayling - Terry R. Wakeley
Hartland - John J. Terry
Livonia - George T. Weatherford
Niles - James G. Murray
Novi - Max Mize
Okemos - Thomas L. Minter
Oregon - Stephen K. Suto
Rockford - Lawrence R. Filter
St Louis - Doug Steward
Traverse City - Donald B. Lord

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