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Kalamazoo's Blake Hagman Receives Norris Award

Blake Hagman, center, receives the Norris Award from MHSAA Executive Director Jack Roberts (left) and former Executive Director Vern Norris, for whom the award is named.

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Blake Hagman of Kalamazoo was honored as the 1998 recipient of the Vern L. Norris Award by the Michigan High School Athletic Association at its 19th annual Officials' Award and Alumni Banquet, Saturday evening (April 25) at the Sheraton Lansing Hotel.

In his 37th year as a registered official, Hagman has been the head official at the MHSAA cross country and track and field finals more than 20 times. Formerly the city-wide athletic director for Kalamazoo Public Schools and building athletic director at Kalamazoo Central High School, he is a registered official in cross country and track and field.

A 1960 graduate of Kalamazoo Central, Hagman began his officiating career in 1961 as a basketball, wrestling, cross country and track and field official while attending Western Michigan University. After earning a degree in business education in 1964, he began his teaching career at Homer High School. In 1966, Hagman left Homer and took a job at Kalamazoo Central in 1966 where he teaches to this day. He later earned his master's degree in business education in 1971, also from Western Michigan University.

One of the first recipients of the Al Bush Award in 1992 as an individual who has had past or continuing service to prep athletics, Hagman has been a mentor to beginning cross country and track and field officials and an instructor in the Program of Athletic Coaches' Education (PACE). He was a founder, past president and board member of the Association of Track Officials of Michigan (ATOM), he has also served as the executive secretary of the Big 8 Conference and the Southwestern Michigan Ice Hockey League and has been the tournament director of the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Volleyball Finals for the past 10 years.

The Norris Award is presented annually to an official with more than 20 years of experience who has been active in their local official's association, has mentored other officials, and been involved in official's education. It is named for Norris, who was executive director of the MHSAA from 1978-86. Hagman was nominated for the award by Mike Foster of the Wolverine Conference.

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