Vermontville Ace Joins NFHS Hall (Video)

August 15, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Michigan celebrated its eighth inductee to the National High School Sports Hall of Fame with the honoring of Vermontville baseball star Ken Beardslee during the annual National Federation of State High School Associations summer meeting, this summer in Reno, Nevada.

Beardslee, who died in 2007, has been proclaimed as “prep baseball’s first ace” in the NFHS National High School Sports Record Book and was featured in the former print version of the book for his incredible feats from 1947-49. In his three years on the mound for Vermontville, Beardslee won 24 of his 25 starts (the team was 31-1 during that time). His 24 victories included eight no-hitters, with two perfect games, and seven one-hitters.

He set seven national records, and two still stand after 66 years: his per-game season strikeout mark of 19.0 and his per-game career strikeout mark of 18.1. He was drafted by the New York Yankees immediately after graduating from high school and pitched in the minor leagues from 1949 to 1956, when an injury ended his playing career. Beardslee went on to scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates for 21 years, and he received a World Series ring after the team’s championship win in 1971. He also went on to write eight books including novels, poetry and an instructional on pitching.

He was one of 12 individuals, including five athletes, inducted as part of this year’s class. His wife Marilene represented Beardslee in accepting the honor, and offered this as to the role high school athletics played in her husband’s life and career:

“My time with Ken was long after his high school days. I'm sure Ken's career gave him joy, happiness. It allowed him to accomplish goals. It opened doors; it opened doors to friendships throughout his life ... Terry Collins with the Mets, Doug Melvin (who) just this year stepped down with the Milwaukee Brewers. Those are things that high school opened doors for him.”

Beardslee was nominated for the NFHS Hall of Fame by the Michigan High School Athletic Association after years of research by Charlotte resident Terry Lowery. Lowery didn't have an immediate connection to Beardslee and only moved to Eaton County as an adult. But during a funeral for one of Beardslee’s high school teammates, Lowery heard the stories of the high school ace – and went to work building his application.

Below is the video produced by the NFHS that played during Beardslee’s portion of the induction ceremony and includes a touching interview with Marilene, who received Ken’s plaque from MHSAA assistant director Kathy Vruggink Westdorp.

PHOTOS: (Top) Marilene Beardslee stands with the NFHS’s Bruce Howard (left) and MHSAA Executive Director Jack Roberts during the Hall of Fame festivities in Reno, Nev. (Middle) Ken Beardslee, during his high school days at Vermontville. (Top photo courtesy of Terry Lowery.)

MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 27, 2023

The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in partnership with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA), will be hosting first-ever Spring Evaluation Camps to provide athletes with aspirations of playing college football opportunities to show their skills and abilities to college coaches at one of five locations.

The one-day camps will take place between May 15-18 at Jenison High School, DeWitt High School, Jackson High School, Brighton High School and Detroit Country Day High School. The MHSAA’s involvement will allow for the opportunity for Division I college coaches to attend, and representatives from college football programs at all levels are expected.

Athletes who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2023 may register to participate via a link on the Football page.

“This is an attempt by the MHSAA to help our athletes get exposure during the spring evaluation period in a way that does not intrude on spring sports,” said Brad Bush, an MHSAA assistant director and past high school and college football coach. “We are working with the MHSFCA to help put together a first-class experience for the athletes and college coaches.”

Cost is $20 per player, and each registrant will receive a shirt to wear based on the athlete’s graduation year and registration number so college coaches in attendance can monitor their camp performance. College coaches also will receive registration information for each athlete in attendance.

All athletes must have a coach from the athlete’s school staff present at the camp, and that coach must be a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.

MHSFCA executive director Andrew Pratley called the Spring Evaluation Camps a tremendous opportunity for high school athletes in Michigan.

“We are very excited with the partnership with the MHSAA that allows our kids the opportunity to wear a helmet and do drills in front of college coaches in the spring at a minimal cost,” Pratley said. “College coaches are thrilled, and it's a unique opportunity to have the rules waived by the MHSAA at these events only in order to showcase the tremendous talent all over the great state of Michigan.”

The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) has been devoted to the promotion of high school football since its inception in March 1972. The MHSFCA has more than 2,500 members and provides several educational and development opportunities for members and their athletes, including an annual coaching clinic, an annual leadership conference for coaches and potential team captains, and the annual summer East-West All-Star Game for graduated seniors. Additionally, the MHSFCA’s Leadership Development Alliance is in its third year of training coaches and offering veteran members of the association as mentors.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 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 1.3 million spectators each year.