MHSA(Q&A): Flint Beecher boys basketball coach Mike Williams
March 30, 2012
Mike Williams had brought Flint Beecher to the MHSAA Semifinals at Michigan State's Breslin Center at the end of both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, and also coached the team that made the Class C Final in 2008. All three times the Buccaneers had to settle with great runs, but losses to end them.
But not Saturday.
Beecher and Williams capped one of the best season's in MHSAA history, becoming the 12th team to finish with 28 wins and claiming the Class C championship. Beecher finished with a perfect record, and the championship was the Bucs' first since claiming the Class B title in 1987.
Williams graduated from Grand Blanc High in 1994 before then getting degrees at Ferris State and Eastern Michigan University. He's led Beecher to a 138-61 record over the last eight seasons, and had some powerful things to say after Saturday's win, both about the Bucs' legacy but also about what the win could mean to the entire Flint community.
"I’m just overwhelmed with excitement. Very humbled by this entire process, by this entire season, by the way our kids performed. Just fortunate to be a part of this. We put in a lot of work to get here. It feels unbelievable. I really can’t describe it with words.
"I know we did everything the right way. And we worked from the ground up"
This is the third time in school history (Beecher) finished with an undefeated season. You yopped the last two teams by one game. How does it feel for you guys to do this?
"It’s incredible. The only thing that I can say is we’ve got the full support of all the Beecher alumni, all the supporters that came out. … Everybody was pulling for us to do this. Like I said, it’s humbling to be considered and to be known right up there with all those great teams that have played in the past at Beecher. And to add to the legacy of Beecher, that’s the main thing.
With all things you guys have been through up to this point, not even just basketball, but off the court, on the court, talk about the feeling you guys have to be able to finish it on top and be able to celebrate a victory.
"I think with the things that our kids have gone through and the things our community has gone through, for me this is more than about basketball. This is about these kids' lives. I feel like I’m their father. The toughest part is that this is over. I won’t get to coach Antuan (Burks) anymore. I won’t get to coach Montana (Gooch) anymore. These are like my sons. I put more into their lives than into basketball. We revert everything back to their lives.
"Because you’re looking at some kids that overcome some things that you can never imagine. For them to make it here and accomplish this, it's setting a standard for all the kids in our city that we don’t have to act up. We can achieve. We can be successful. Because too many bad things are going on in our city, and I want these kids to be representatives of our city, of their generation turning around and being positive. And that’s been the biggest thing. It’s been about their lives. For them to accomplish this, it doesn’t even compare to the things they’ve overcome in their lives.
"So we just want to bring it back home and show everybody we can be successful. We don’t have to be in the streets. We don’t have to do things that are getting written about in paper that Flint is known for. Let’s get back to being successful. And our community and the whole Flint area, everybody supported us. Not just Beecher. That’s what I’m more proud of -- that we get to bring some positive attention to our area."
St. Clair County Celebrates 1st Mr. Basketball Winner, PHN's Jamison
By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com
March 29, 2023
The Jamison family has spent plenty of time over the years driving long distances as Tyler chased his basketball dreams.
After the Port Huron Northern senior achieved one of the biggest ones, they had to put some more mileage on the family vehicle.
As the newly-crowned Mr. Basketball, Jamison was invited to a special presentation during the Boys Basketball Finals this past Saturday afternoon at the Breslin Center. It was an invitation Tyler and his family didn’t hesitate to accept, and the drive from Port Huron to East Lansing was nothing.
But it did cause a pretty big change to some other travel plans.
Tyler and his family were scheduled to fly to Florida on Friday for spring break. That flight had to be canceled, though, and instead, the family made the drive down later.
“There were some jokes about just leaving me and letting me find my own way down there,” Jamison said.
While they joke, there’s nowhere the Jamisons would have rather been Saturday than at the Breslin. As a true basketball family – Tyler’s dad Brian is also the coach at Northern, and his brother Alex was a standout freshman for the Huskies – they have a great appreciation for the Mr. Basketball Award and its significance.
“I had said a while ago, ‘Hey, if we’re still in the tournament, we’ll be playing Friday,” Brian Jamison said. “I even mentioned that it would be a miracle, but Tyler could win Mr. Basketball. Now we’re eating plane tickets and driving down to Florida. But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we’re not missing this.”
Jamison was the overwhelming winner of the award, which is named after Hal Schram and given out by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. He received 3,058 points in the vote to become its 43rd winner. Curtis Williams of Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (2,004 points), Kaden Brown of Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1,918), Sonny Wilson of Detroit U-D Jesuit (1,883) and Ryan Hurst of North Farmington (1,811) were the other finalists.
“It was just insane,” Tyler Jamison said. “I can’t even really put into words how I felt – it was just a dream come true, a culmination of all the hard work that’s been put in over the years. My mom was in the other room (when his dad called to tell him), and I just hugged her and we were kind of screaming. The dog was getting riled up. It was fun. There were a few tears shed.”
Jamison, who signed with Fairleigh Dickinson in December, finished the season averaging 26.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game. He was named the Macomb Area Conference White division MVP after leading Northern to the league title and a 20-4 overall record.
Even with all that, winning the most prestigious individual basketball award in the state didn’t seem like a reality.
“We purposely try to play a tough schedule, and we purposely got into some showcases because we wanted people to see, not only him play, but us play,” Brian Jamison said. “We had beaten Skyline and Hamtramck, and went up to Croswell-Lexington and won up there, and I thought, ‘OK, now he’s done it against some of the better teams.’ Up to that point, when we played those tougher teams, he’s always showed out well, but it’s different when you’re not winning them. But at that point, I thought he had a chance. Really, I was just hoping he would get on the list. To win it was kind of above and beyond what I had hoped for.”
On the court, Tyler’s impact on the program was pretty obvious and immediate.
He’s the program’s all-time leading scorer – a record he set as a junior – with 1,763 career points. He also holds Northern records for career rebounds (825), points in a game (59), rebounds in a game (28), career field goals made (638) and career free throws made (439). As a junior, he was named MAC Blue MVP.
Northern did not lose a league game in either of the past two seasons.
But Northern is likely to see future success because of Tyler’s non-statistical impact.
Leading a young team, including a group of star freshmen – his brother Alex, Cam Harju and Amir Morelan – was a major part of Tyler’s job this season.
Northern’s home games were must-see events this winter, as the Huskies were one of Division 1’s top teams, and Tyler was providing nightly highlights and must-see performances. Even in his final game, a loss against Macomb Dakota in the District Final, Jamison treated the standing-room crowd with a 46-point performance and a halfcourt shot at the third-quarter buzzer in a valiant effort.
“That’s the big thing, you want the students and the school community to support you, and they did an amazing job,” Tyler Jamison said. “We also had people from the community that wanted to support us and watch us play. Port Huron High had a really good season, too, and I think both schools in the city had that public support. That’s huge. It makes you feel like you’re playing for more than yourself.”
Among those crowds were the next generation of Huskies, some of whom were coached by Tyler in youth basketball. As he’s the first Mr. Basketball winner from St. Clair County, those kids now have a hometown example of someone who has reached the highest heights.
“I think interest gets sparked when the little kids come to the gym, like, ‘Hey, I want to do that,’” Brian Jamison said. “They want to play for Northern or (Port Huron) High. And with him winning Mr. Basketball, I think it gives kids a little bit of ‘Hey, why not me?’ I do think it helps motivate younger people. We’ve had great crowds at our games. I think the area is excited about basketball. It really is a great basketball area.”
With all of that excitement surrounding him, Tyler had one more challenge after the season – keeping the secret that he had won. He found out six days before the award was announced.
“It was terrible – especially when it’s something of that magnitude,” he said. “You want to tell everyone. You want to tell your friends and family. It was hard to be like, ‘No, I don’t know.’”
Paul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Tyler Jamison, second from left, with his parents and brother, stands with his newly-received Mr. Basketball Award trophy during the ceremony at the Detroit Free Press. (Middle) Jamison throws down a dunk. (Photos courtesy of the Jamison family.)