By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Longtime Armada tennis coach David Fredette has been named one of 23 National Coaches of the Year for 2018-19 by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NHFS) Coaches Association.
Fredette was selected first at the state level and then from among the eight sections that make up the NFHS – Michigan is part of Section 4 with Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.
The following brief bio includes an excerpt from Fredette’s coaching philosophy, which nominees were asked to submit after being identified as candidates for the awards.
David Fredette began Armada’s tennis program in 1966 and coached the boys team through the 2018 season. He led more than half his teams over the years to the MHSAA Finals, and 17 to top-10 finishes at the championship meet – including four straight from 2009-12. He also was a major contributor during the early days of the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association, and began serving on its board in 1982. Four times he was selected MHSTeCA state Coach of the Year: in Class C-D in 1982, Class B in 1992, and as one of two selections in Division 4 in both 1998 and 2018. Fredette was inducted into the MHSTeCA Hall of Fame in 1988. Armada’s tennis courts are named for him.
Fredette played tennis at Dowagiac High School and then Benton Harbor Community College. He also coached basketball and football during his time at Armada.
“Athletics give students a chance to become student-athletes, which means athletics teach athletes discipline, a strong work ethic, and cooperation with others. Athletics teach athletes how to not only compete, but how to handle both winning and losing. … I know that students who play sports upon graduation are more prepared to face the challenges that life presents them. While I always expected my players to work hard, I wanted my athletes to enjoy the experiences on and off the courts. My former players tell me how much they enjoyed competing, but also how much fun they had on the trips we went on together, whether it was to play top competition across the state of Michigan or on the Florida trips I took my boys teams on over Easter vacation from 1989 through 2001 to practice and bond as a team. Athletes learn how to compete, but they also gain friendships that last a lifetime, if only in their memories.”
Four more Michigan coaches earned honors in Section 4. Brighton girls swimming & diving coach Jason Black led the Bulldogs to a Lower Peninsula Division 1 Finals runner-up finish in Fall 2018, its best placing in program history. Dexter boys swimming & diving coach Michael McHugh was selected for the second-straight year as a Section 4 winner after leading his team to its fourth-straight Lower Peninsula Division 2 championship last winter. Battle Creek St. Philip volleyball coach Vicky Groat at one point guided the Tigers to nine Class D championships in 10 seasons from 2005-14 and is the sixth-winningest coach in MHSAA volleyball history with a record of 1,154-262-93. Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart co-coach Judy Hehs helped lead that program to its second-straight Lower Peninsula Division 4 championship this past fall, its sixth title in eight seasons, in her final tournament before retirement. She previously was named NFHS Coaches Association National Coach of the Year for girls tennis in 2016.
The NFHS has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year for which they receive their award.
To provide for the convenience and safety of spectators attending the Michigan High School Athletic Association 11-Player Football Finals on Nov. 25 and 26 at Ford Field in Detroit, attendees are being advised of a variety of items related to transportation and security – including policies regarding parking, seating and types of bags allowed into the stadium.
Parking will be available in Ford Field facilities and lots to the east and north of the stadium and costs $8. A map identifying the designated Ford Field lots (4, 5 and 6) and parking deck can be found on the Football page under “Tracking the Tournament.” (There also are a number of privately-operated parking facilities close to Ford Field, but their pricing may differ.)
Fans also are advised that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Ford Field parking facilities and lots, and smoking – including use of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers – is prohibited inside the stadium. Tailgating, including the setting up and use of grilling equipment, also is not allowed.
Tickets are priced at $20 and allow a fan to see all four games in a single day. Tickets are available for purchase at the door (cash or credit accepted), from participating schools, or online from Ford Field via Ticketmaster – links to order tickets both days also are on the MHSAA Website football page. Spectators leaving the stadium will be required to purchase another ticket for re-entry. Infants able to be held in arms will be admitted without charge for this event. There will not be a public Will Call window.
Spectators may enter Ford Field at Gates A & B. Upon arrival in the building, fans will find their designated seating areas on the South side of the field if their team is the designated home team for their contest and on the North side for the designated visiting team. Home teams this weekend are Belleville, Warren De La Salle Collegiate, Mason, Harper Woods, Corunna, Almont, Jackson Lumen Christi and Ottawa Lake Whiteford. Brightly-lit video boards above the seating areas will display the names of the participating teams each day, and fans should sit on the side of the stadium where they see their school’s name. For general fans, the entire lower bowl of Ford Field will be open for the event.
Security measures also will be in place to help assure spectator safety. Fans will be subject to metal detector screening, and Ford Field personnel reserve the right to request patrons open their coats, bags and other item-carrying vessels for visual inspection and deny entrance to individuals who do not cooperate. Spectators should remove cell phones, cameras, keys and other large metal objects before passing through the metal detectors.
Items which fans will be prohibited from bringing into the building include, but are not limited to, the following:
* Purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, book bags, diaper bags, fanny packs, cinch bags, grocery & paper bags; duffle bags, computer bags or luggage of any kind.
* Aerosol cans (hairspray, mace, pepper spray, etc.)
* Animals (except service animals to aid guests with disabilities)
* Balloons (air or helium)
* Balls (beach balls, footballs, etc.)
* Banners or large flags
* Cameras with lenses longer than five inches or any detachable lens. Selfie Sticks also are prohibited.
* Chairs including folding chairs or stools
* Decals, stickers, confetti or glitter
* Drones and/or remote-controlled aircraft
* Electronic equipment including laptop computers, video recorders (hand-held video cameras are allowed), tripods and wearable video cameras including Go Pros.
* Food, beverages – including water – or liquids (cans, bottles, boxes, flasks, etc.)
* Illegal substances
* Knives, pocketknives, box cutters, scissors, etc.
* Laser pointers
* Marijuana including medically prescribed electronic accessories or paraphernalia associated with marijuana or illegal narcotics use.
* Markers (permanent) and/or paint
* Noisemaking devices (bells, horns, kazoos, whistles, etc.)
* Objects that can be used as missiles or projectiles (sticks, poles, bats, clubs, Frisbees, etc.)
* Strollers and infant car seats or carriers
* Umbrellas (large size)
* Wrapped gifts
The following items may be permitted after inspection:
* Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc or similar). An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at the Gate.
* Infant items in a clear bag (bottles and formula) only if accompanied by a child
* Binoculars and binoculars cases not exceeding 4½ inches by 6½ inches may be brought in via one of the clear plastic bag options.
* Cameras (lenses may not measure longer than five inches or be detachable, and no tripods or extension cords)
* Small radios (no larger than the size of a football and used with an earpiece)
* Small, compact umbrellas (must be placed securely under seat)
* Posters and signs without poles or sticks, or larger than what one person can hold.
* Tablets (iPads, Kindles, etc.)
* Seat cushions not exceeding 15 inches by 15 inches. Seat cushions also must not contain arm rests, zippers, pockets, flaps or metal backs.
The complete list of prohibited items can be found on the Detroit Lions website. Prohibited items that are discovered during security inspections at stadium entrances must be returned to the owner's vehicle or discarded. Items will not be held for later pickup.
Fans are reminded that all image taking (still and video) may be only for personal, non-commercial use.
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 1.4 million spectators each year.