Championship Official, Longtime Mentor Walters Named 2023 Norris Honoree

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

June 30, 2023

From volunteering to umpire slowpitch softball to officiating at last season’s 11-Player Football Finals at Ford Field, Jackson’s Chuck D. Walters has enjoyed every step of the climb over 44 years as a Michigan High School Athletic Association-registered official.

As a revered and beloved trainer, mentor and recruiter of officials, he’s also dedicated decades to providing opportunities to the next generations of officials in his community.

For especially his work in nurturing others in the avocation, Walters has been selected as this year’s MHSAA Vern L. Norris Award honoree.

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.

Chuck WaltersWalters has registered to officiate MHSAA football again this fall, which will begin his 45th year of refereeing or umpiring school sports. He’s a member of the Jackson Area Officials Association, Kalamazoo Officials Association and Southeast Michigan Sports Officials organization, and he has served as a football and baseball trainer in the JAOA while also working more than 100 MHSAA postseason games in those sports including six football and two baseball Finals.

“Chuck Walters is one of the best people I’ve known through officiating. He’s been a leader and mentor for hundreds of officials in the Jackson area over many years,” said MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl, who also is a longtime football and baseball official at the high school and college levels. “Chuck is the epitome of what the Vern Norris Award is meant to honor.”

Walters was a three-sport athlete at East Jackson High School – playing football, basketball and baseball – and upon graduating in 1965 took a job with Chrysler at its Proving Grounds in Chelsea. While later coaching his son Chuck in youth baseball, Walters put on a slowpitch softball tournament to benefit the local Little League association – and umpired the bases at those games to help save money so more could go to the organization.

From there, he began filling a need locally for youth umpires. Relationships built in baseball turned into working subvaristy football. After his son graduated from Napoleon, Walters’ Friday nights opened up and he filled that personal sports void by beginning a long and successful career in varsity football as well. He first registered for two years at the start of the 1970s, and returned to register without pause beginning with the 1981-82 school year.

In addition to working youth and high school athletes, Walters has umpired college baseball primarily at the Division II, III and NAIA levels but also in the Big Ten Conference and Mid-American Conference. He also served 35 years as the volunteer clock operator at Napoleon High School basketball games – his current football crew includes multiple former Napoleon athletes or coaches.  

Among recommendations for this Norris Award came a letter from his entire crew and another noting Walters continues to mentor 14 current officials while always seeking to introduce opportunities to others.

“I used to go to a lot of college football meetings just to stay current, and they’d talk about this and that and my head would be spinning forever,” Walters said. “We have four new officials in our area starting football this fall, and I know their heads will be spinning when we talk about this and that. My focus will be to get those new officials’ feet on the ground, get them (progressing) step by step by step. Once they get that passion to officiate whatever sport it might be, they just take off.”

Walters received the Al Cotton Award in 2013 from the Jackson Citizen Patriot for his contributions to Jackson-area sports, and was named to the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) Hall of Fame in 2021 as a “friend of basketball” for his hundreds of games operating the clock.

Walters and his high school sweetheart Judy have been married 57 years, and they have adult children Stacy and Chuck. Walters retired from Chrysler after 32 years and has a car restoration business.

Previous recipients

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 Par
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, West Bloomfield
2015 – Sam Davis, Lansing 
2016 – Linda Hoover, Marshall
2017 – Michael Gentry, Shelby Township
2018 – Jill Baker-Cooley, Big Rapids
2019 – David Buck, St. Joseph
2020 – Hugh Matson, Saginaw
2021 – Lewis Clingman, Grand Rapids
2022 – Pat Hayes, Birmingham

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

The officials on this list are receiving their 20, 30, 40, 45 and 50-year service awards.


Allegan – Joseph Munn
Allen Park – James Murdoch
Ann Arbor – Shawna Lorch

Bad Axe – Gary Krause
Bannister – Clyde English
Baraga – Scott Koski
Battle Creek – Lonzo Warren
Bay City – Jason Ruple
Bay City – David Szczypka
Belleville – Michael McCormick
Big Rapids – Marty Shaffer
Blissfield – Steven Babbitt
Bloomfield Township – Richard Dylewski
Bloomfield Village – Maynard Timm
Bridgman – Shane Peters
Brimley – George Jones
Bronson – Brian Case
Bronson – Kevin Gardner
Brownstown Township – Charles Monette
Byron Center – Michael Jager

Cadillac – Demetrio Rojas-Cruz
Chassell – Robert Fay
Chassell – Shana Ruotsala
Chesterfield – Paul McBride
Clarkston – Jamie Rykse
Clarksville – Michael Burgess
Clinton Township – Mark Carney
Clinton Township – Keith Justice
Clinton Township – Brad Thomas
Commerce Township – Robert Foss
Constantine – Jerry Burgess
Cottrellville – Grant Harris

Dearborn Heights – Abasi Sanders
Detroit – Cozette Ealy
Detroit – Cedric Green
Detroit – Delonda Little
Detroit – William Pugh
DeWitt – Mark Kellogg
DeWitt – Adam Miller
Dorr – Dan Heasley

East Lansing – Eric McGaugh

Farmington hills – Kevin Cleveland
Fenton – Paula McAllister
Flint – Rozier Looney
Frankenmuth – Matthew Krause
Freeland – Nick Horn
Fremont – Kevin Holmberg

Gaylord – Michael Switalski
Gobles – Randy Hood
Grand Blanc – Josh Dean
Grand Blanc – Anthony Klinck
Grand Blanc – David Clement
Grand Ledge – Brian Gorman
Grand Rapids – Marc Davis
Grand Rapids – Timothy Gildner
Grand Rapids – Lloyd Kilgore
Grand Rapids – Fritz Owen
Grand Rapids – Debra Rambow
Grand Rapids – James Stokes
Grand Rapids – Michael Underwood
Grand Rapids – Randy Wilson
Grosse Ile – Michael Szczechowski
Grosse Pointe Woods – Douglas Bohannon

Harbor Beach – Jill Fuller
Harrison Township – Kimberly Broski
Hart – Chris Romero
Haslett – Scott Bradley
Haslett – Casey Kern
Hastings – Fred Koning
Highland – Jason Zimmerman
Holland – Jayson Dibble
Holt – Andrew Hoard
Honor – Matt Olson
Horton – Jerry Waddington
Houghton – Gregg Richards
Howell – Anthony Vella
Howell – Nathan Thompson
Hudsonville – Roberto Ortega-Ramos

Ionia – April Holman
Ironwood – Guy Trier

Jackson – Tracy Boyers
Jackson – Troy Fairbanks
Jackson – Daniel Garrison
Jackson – Jim Miller
Jackson – Bernard Nabozny
Jackson – Douglas Richardson
Jenison – Alfred Kennedy

Kalamazoo – Jill Lansky
Kentwood – Andrew Terrien
Kentwood – Rus Tien

Lansing – Oscar Castaneda
Lansing – Steve Crowley
Lansing – Terry Harris
Lansing – Arthur Lilly
Lansing – Keith Rhodabeck
Lansing – Cameron Rodgers
Lathrup Village – Gerald Jones
Livonia – Scott Racer

Macomb – Don Kalpin
Macomb – Terry Prince
Manistique – Joseph Crowder
Manistique – Howard Parmentier
Marlette – Chris Storm
Marquette – John Schultz
Marshall – James Dyer
Marshall – Eric Earl
Marysville – John Schweihofer
Mason – Ammahad Wnaikau
Memphis – Steven Gray
Merrill – Malena Marr
Michigan City – Larry Jordan
Middleville – Darrin Oliver
Midland – Thomas Coatoam
Midland – Alan Huntress
Milan – Jill Hargrove
Milan – Michael St. John
Milford – Jeffrey Garvin
Milford – Larry Walters
Mt. Pleasant – Jeff Siler
Muskegon – Robert Koekkoek

Niles – Cory Gowen
Niles – Glenn Kimmerly
Northville – Doug Doyle

Ortonville – Laurel Kobe

Perrysburg – Gregg Becker
Petersburg – Mike Faunce
Pickford – Marc Andrzejak
Pontiac – Wanda Clayton
Port Austin – Andrew Preston
Portage – Phillip Baker
Portage – Jeff Kirkman
Portage – Mike Lauraine
Portage – Michael Northuis

Reed City – Aaron Keup
Riverview – Gregory Drewno
Rochester – Avoki Omekanda
Rochester Hills – Michael Timko
Rochester Hills – Terry Zangkas
Royal Oak – Linda Mariani

Saginaw – Richard Moody
Saginaw – Charles Smith
Schoolcraft – Nathan DeMaso
Schoolcraft – Reid Jones
South Haven – Ken Dietz
South Haven – Douglas Jones
South Lyon – Elisabeth Tyzo-DePaulis
St. Clair Shores – Chad Kelly
Sterling Heights – Robert Hornik
Sterling Heights – Patrick Radaj
Sterling Heights – Erik Schneider
Sterling Heights – Ernest Sciullo
Sterling Heights – Terry Sheen
Stevensville – Thomas Rivette
Stevensville – Douglas Wegscheid
Swartz Creek – Andrew Palovich

Tecumseh – Eryn Stamper
Temperance – Larry Nocella
Traverse City – Jeffrey Brunner
Traverse City – Jason Meriwether
Traverse City – Thomas Spencer
Trenton – Brian Hill
Trenton – Kevin McMillion
Troy – Glenn Craze
Troy – Patrick Grady
Twin Lake – Mike Vanderstelt

Utica – Edward Kotulski

Wallace – Terry Unti
Walled Lake – Terry Prickett
Warren – Arthur Lynn
Wayland – Joseph Kramer
West Bloomfield – Ilya Beltser
West Branch – Howard Hanft
White Lake – Gregory Waun
Williamston – Kelli Hart
Wixom – Cuba Gregory
Wyoming – Kelli Polinskey


Allen – Kent Sanborn
Allen Park – Mark Klein
Alpena – Robert Centala
Alto – Bene Benedict

Bad Axe – Brent Wehner
Baroda – Chris Falak
Battle Creek – John Crumb
Bay City – Stephen Linton
Bay City – Scott Packard
Bay City – Joseph Pietryga
Bessemer – James Trcka
Brooklyn – Gregg Wonderly

Caledonia – Stacy Smith
Center Line – Scott Manteuffel
Charlotte – Val Nelson
Chelsea – Eric VanHevel
Chesterfield – Anthony Mancina
Clinton Township – Barbara Laird
Clinton Township – Scott Walendowski
Comstock Park – Kathy Felty

Davison – James Edgar
Dearborn – Gloria Joseph
Dearborn Heights – Rick Ballnik
Detroit – Joyce Smith
Dowagiac – Scott Stewart

East Lansing – Brent Sorg
Eaton Rapids – Wesley Collins
Essexville – Mark Gentle

Farmington Hills – Robert Dobson
Fenton – Paul White
Flat Rock – Janis Stahr
Flint – Richard Higgins
Flint – John Yelle
Flushing – Jeffrey Straley
Freeland – Terry Schmidt

Grand Blanc – Bernadette Koenig
Grand Blanc – Thomas Le Blanc
Grand Blanc – Leonard Sparks
Grand Rapids – Jacquie DeJonge
Grand Rapids – Jeff Green
Greenville – Darcia Kelley
Grosse Pointe – Ryan Murphy
Grosse Pointe Park – George Markley
Grosse Pointe Woods – Renee Dicristofaro

Hazel Park – Benny Holzman
Hickory Corners – Dean Bostwick
Holt – John Massey

Imlay City – John Forti

Kalamazoo – Julie Jones
Kalamazoo – Mark Kampen
Kingsley – David Lemmien

Lansing – Dee Hammond
Lansing – Robert Mccullem
Livonia – Steve Timm

Manchester – James Connors
Marinette – Neil Motto
Mason – Daniel Carmichael
Mason – Kathy Showers
Mattawan – John Visser
McMillan – Anthony Immel
Midland – Katherine Duso
Monroe – Carolyn Peters
Montague – Stanley Bush
Muskegon – Jacklyn Burr
Muskegon – Chris Calkins
Muskegon – Dennis Danicek
Muskegon – Randall Peters

North Muskegon – Tony Kartes

Ontonagon – Andrew Borseth
Ottawa Lake – Douglas Sanders

Paw Paw – Karla Koviak
Perry – Thomas Montpas
Petoskey – Mark Holland
Pierson – Joseph Williams
Pleasant Lake – Marty Shean
Plymouth – Michael Rossman
Plymouth – Richard Schmidt

Quincy – Candace Cox

Rapid River – Mike Pilon
Rochester – Janette Luttenberger
Rochester Hills – Katherine DiMeglio
Romeo – Mary Milke
Rossford – Steven Agler

Saginaw – Thomas Nichols
Saline – Todd Schultz
Shelby – Todd Fox
Shelby Township – Sheila Brownlee
Shelby Township – Kristi Dean
South Lyon – Michael Kiselis
Sparta – Ryan Huber
St. Clair Shores – Gary Kowalewski
St. Joseph – Terry Myers
St. Joseph – Dave Waaso
Standish – Kimberly Belchak
Stanton – Jason Petersen
Sterling Heights – George Braund
Sterling Heights – John Moceri

Traverse City – Allen Hebden

Utica – Sean Barel

Waldron – Michael Granger
Walled Lake – Donald Magee
Warren – Joseph DiBucci
Washington – Gloria Berger
Wayne – Robert Allen
West Bloomfield – Cynthia Tyzo
Williamston – David Sweeney
Wolverine – David Ashenfelter
Wyandotte – David Shalda
Wyoming – Stephen Hendrickson

Yale – Perry Sutherland


Adrian – Doris Goodlock
Allen Park – James Sombati

Battle Creek – Corby O'Leary
Bay City – Tony Biskup
Buchanan – Ronald Bartz

Cedar Springs – Dan Rypma
Charlevoix – Daniel Ulrich
Clark Lake – Ralph Piepkow
Clinton Township – Patrick Crandall
Crystal Falls – Lyle Smithson

Detroit – Aimee Davis
Detroit – John Leidlein
Detroit – Richard Shalhoub

Eastpointe – Wayne Rockensuess

Fort Gratiot – Jeff Klausing

Garden City – Eric Hebestreit
Grosse Ile – Steven Vecchioni

Hancock – Brian Rimpela
Holland – Brent Hoitenga
Hudsonville – Gerald Kuiper

Jackson – Thomas Morrissey
Jackson – Joseph Page
Jonesville – Kirk Snyder

Kentwood – William Meade

Lake Orion – James Weidman
Lansing – Daniel Kitchel
Lapeer – Gary Oyster
Lapeer – Scott Strickler

Macomb Township – William Gerbe
Mayville – Gary Libka
Midland – Bradley Crampton

Newaygo – Clinton Abbott

Ray – David Hines
Reed City – David Erler
Republic – Paul Price
Rockford – Carl Knoop
Rogers City – Karl Grambau
Roseville – Mario Soresi

Saginaw – Michael Mayers
Saginaw – Richard Welzein
Saginaw – Dennis Wildey
Sand Creek – Jack Sager
Sault Ste. Marie – Dale Cryderman
St. Clair Shores – Gerald Garcia
St. Joseph – Bruce Molineaux
Swartz Creek – James Loria

Temperance – Michael Bitz
Traverse City – Barbara Beckett

Walled Lake – Nicholas Lesnau
Waters – Rick Sehl

Ypsilanti – Jerry Kelley


Alpena – Scott MacKenzie

Berkley – Charles Tyrrell
Boyne City – Peter Moss
Bronson – Randy Houtz
Brown City – Curt Lowe
Buchanan – Larry Monsma
Burton – Thomas Rau

Cheboygan – Peter Stempky
Conklin – Gary Meerman

East Lansing – Bruce Heeder

Flint – Joseph Johnson
Flushing – David Cowden
Fowler – Dean Schrauben
Frankfort – Peter Olson

Grand Rapids – Todd VandenAkker

Haslett – Heidi Doherty
Holland – Craig Kuipers
Houghton – Roy Britz

Iron Mountain – Robert Barkle

Jenison – James Kerbel

Lake Isabella – James Novar
Linden – John Cross

Madison Heights – Joseph Marcinkowski
Muskegon Heights – Johnny Robinson

Oxford – Donald Maskill

Plymouth – Charles Hempel
Portage – Richard Bird
Portage – Robert Burch
Posen – Donna Couture
Prescott – Charles Wren

Roseville – Robert Iwasko

Shelby Township – Michael Gentry
South Bend – Dale Matteson
South Lyon – Dan Riggs

Taylor – Clayton Conner

Warren – Vern Rottmann


Adrian – Gary Laskowsky
Ann Arbor – Michael Parsons

Canton – David Mattingly
Caseville – Daniel Korbutt

DeWitt – Raymond Barnes

Fenton – Hewitt Judson
Fruitport – David Fisher

Kalamazoo – David Turley

Livonia – Steven Boyak
Livonia – John Dunn
Ludington – Roger Chappel

Marlette – Jerry Sauder
Marquette – Gene Aho

Ontonagon – John Gravier

Palmetto – Donald Bourdon

Rodney – Jeffrey Greene
Rogers City – Michael Grulke

Saginaw – Richard Havercroft
South Haven – Robert Linderman
South Lyon – Richard Gibson
Stevensville – Bruce Arter

Traverse City – Tom Post

West Bloomfield – Anthony Magni
Whitehall – Chuck Hulce

PHOTO Chuck Walters officiates this past season's Division 5 Final.

Longtime Taylor AD, Game Official Ristovski Chose Athletics as Way to Give Back

By Doug Donnelly
Special for

February 20, 2024

There is a basketball court 5,000 miles from Sterling Heights with “MHL” painted on the center court.

Greater DetroitIt’s not the name of a local basketball league in the village where it is located – Siricino, Macedonia. Instead, it stands for Madison, Haleigh and Lola, the three daughters of longtime Michigan basketball coach, referee and athletic director Loren Ristovski.

“My dad loved going back (to Macedonia),” said Madison Ristovski. “He’s probably gone every summer since about 2017. His whole family still lives there. He loved going and visiting and seeing everyone.

“It was always a goal of his to give back to where he came from. He and Mom donated to the village to build a soccer field and basketball court with lights and everything. It was a pretty big deal. It’s something he wanted to do for them back home. We were very proud he did that.”

Loren Ristovski, athletic director for Taylor schools, died earlier this month while on leave to have surgery on his foot. It was a shock to his family, friends, and the Taylor community.

“It was a heavy blow,” said Matt Joseph, girls basketball coach at Utica Ford and a longtime friend of the Ristovski family. “It was like getting kicked in the gut. Basketball was his passion. Next to his family, basketball was definitely No. 1. He loved the game and all the intricacies of it. He loved seeing kids excel.”

Loren Ristovski heads an all-family officiating crew with Lola and his brother Dean Ristovski.Ristovski emigrated from Macedonia to Michigan when he was 9. He went to high school at Hamtramck St. Florian, where he excelled at basketball. He went to Wayne State University to get a degree in criminal justice and had plans to become a lawyer.

Before he could take the Law School Admission Test, however, basketball came calling.

“He started coaching at Henry Ford High School and Fuhrmann Middle School,” Madison said. “Once he realized how much he enjoyed coaching, he decided to go into education. He stayed the entire time. He never went to law school.”

Loren Ristovski became the head coach at Harper Woods but gave that up when his daughters were ready to start playing in high school.

“He gave up coaching varsity at Harper Woods so he could be at every one of my games,” Madison said.

He also coached them as youngsters, often teaming with Joseph to coach an AAU team.

“I met him when Madison was 5,” Joseph said. “He and I decided to put our daughters in the same parks and recreation team, and next thing you know we were coaching AAU.”

With Ristovski’s tutoring, Madison, Haleigh, and Lola all excelled at the game, each playing Division I college basketball after standout careers at Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett. In 2012, Liggett reached the Class C Final with all three starting. They combined for 55 of Liggett’s 57 points in the championship game, with Madison scoring 42 after earlier that week receiving the Miss Basketball Award.

Lola and Haleigh played at the University of Detroit Mercy, and Madison played at the University of Michigan. Today, Haleigh lives on the west side of the state and plays recreational basketball. Lola is a referee in the Catholic High School League as well as for the Division II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and also works area Division III college games.

Madison is a teacher and the varsity girls basketball coach at Sterling Heights Stevenson.

“He taught us the game when we were very, very young,” Madison said. “We grew up in the gym with him and watched him coach his team. He coached me my whole life. He was very instrumental – he taught us all those things you need to become an athlete, and more importantly the things you need to do to succeed in life.”

Her dad is the reason she became a coach.

The daughters’ initials “MHL” glow on the court the family funded in Macedonia.“Watching my dad coach and seeing the impact he had on his high school athletes and even the kids in our church community – it inspired me to want to coach as well and give back like he did,” she said. “I watched him with my teammates and the impact he had on them. I thought it would be so cool if I could do the same for others.”

Loren Ristovski left a legacy at Taylor, too. School officials recounted several stories of how he balanced athletic budgets with the needs of student-athletes. He would lead fundraising efforts, created the Bitty Ball program for youth basketball players and cheerleaders and helped students become certified officials – and then would hire them to officiate games.

“He didn’t say no,” said Taylor boys basketball coach Chris Simons. “We made it work. We didn’t go out and ask people for a bunch of money. We would just do it. We all pulled together and made it work. Loren did everything he could to make things as pretty and presentable as he could with the budget we had.”

Ristovski also put on summer camps at both Taylor and at the Joe Dumars Fieldhouse in Sterling Heights, where he lived. He commuted about an hour to Taylor every day.

“He loved Taylor,” Madison said. “He loved who he worked with and the students. He included us, too. My mom would run the ticket table or do the scoreboard clock. I don’t know how many times I sold tickets for volleyball tournaments with him. He loved his people and loved having us there with him.”

Loren Ristovski, who played professional basketball in Europe during the late 1980s, ran well over 20 marathons in his life, including the Boston Marathon. He was a registered MHSAA official for 16 years, and in the weeks before his passing he refereed a varsity game in Rochester with his daughter, Lola.

“He looked at basketball, I think, differently than other people do,” Madison said. “He saw it as a way to have relationships with other people, to help people achieve their goals and to find meaningful relationships with others. It was more than just a game to him.”

Doug DonnellyDoug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Loren Ristovski, far left, and wife Svetlana support their lineup of Division I basketball-playing daughters – from left: Madison, Haleigh and Lola. (Middle) Loren Ristovski heads an all-family officiating crew with Lola and his brother Dean Ristovski. (Below) The daughters’ initials “MHL” glow on the court the family funded in Macedonia. (Photos courtesy of Madison Ristovski.)