Joseph Coaching Tree Continues to Bloom

By Tom Markowski
Special for Second Half

May 17, 2017

STERLING HEIGHTS – Annis Joseph died last year at the age of 92, and the former baseball coach, husband, father and grandfather supplied his extended family stories to tell that will last a lifetime.

Ryan Joseph is one of his grandsons and forever in debt to the person who created such a love for sports, whether playing or coaching, for so many members of his family.

One such story touched Ryan at an early age and represents a chord that connects this family through more than 60 years of coaching.

Ryan Joseph, 29, is in his second season as the varsity baseball coach at Utica Ford. Back in the mid-to-late 1990s he watched East Detroit’s baseball team, coached by his father, Matt, play against Ferndale, coached by his grandfather.

“My dad ran a squeeze play to win the game,” Ryan said. “It was a play my grandfather used all the time, and my dad learned from that. The newspapers were there, taking pictures afterward of my dad and my grandfather together. That was the first memory I have of my grandfather.”

Annis Joseph coached for 53 years, and most of his time as a coach was spent on a baseball diamond in Ferndale. He and his wife, Josephine, raised seven children, four boys and three girls, and all of the boys played a variety of sports throughout high school. All also eventually became coaches.

Matt Joseph is the seventh child, and what his father started in the 1940s, coaching and working with the youth in the area, will continue for years to come.

Matt Joseph and his wife, Darlene, have three children, and all three are coaches. Matt is in his 32nd season. He’s currently the head coach of two varsity sports at Utica Ford, softball and girls basketball. He’s also a counselor at the school.

“Sports has always been a big part of my life,” Matt said. “I love it. I love coaching. I love working with young adults, and the camaraderie you build with coaches and referees. (Being a coach) has helped me in my life. You have to have patience (to coach). It’s becoming a family thing.”

His son is not only the baseball coach at Ford, but he just completed his first season assisting his father with the girls basketball team. Ryan started coaching in 2010 at Jeanette Junior High in Sterling Heights working with the eighth grade boys basketball team. He also coached freshmen baseball at Sterling Heights Stevenson for five seasons before going over to Ford. Ryan also coached football for four seasons including one at the freshmen level at Stevenson. This season he started coaching a 13-and-under summer league baseball team as well. 

Matt’s eldest daughter, Emily, 27, just completed her fifth season as the girls junior varsity basketball coach at Macomb Dakota. Emily is also a mathematics teacher at the school.

The Josephs’ third child, Teresa, 25, just completed her third season as the girls varsity basketball coach at Grand River Prep in Kentwood near Grand Rapids. Teresa also teaches math at the school.

Matt, 54, began his career in education as a math teacher. He graduated from Madison Heights Bishop Foley in 1981, and he said there was a math teacher he had as a junior who sparked his interest in the subject.

His children followed his lead, all except his son who chose a slightly different path. Ryan is a French teacher.

One of Matt’s brothers, Mike, switched careers after a spell. He quit his job, went back to college and earned his teaching certificate. Mike teaches at Hartland and is the girls varsity golf coach there.

It’s in the blood.

“I knew in high school I wanted to be a teacher,” Matt Joseph said. “I love what I do. I wake up and it’s not a chore going to work. I knew I wasn’t going to make a lot of money. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

The other male offspring of Annis and Josephine are Dave, 64, and Ray, 63. Mike is the eldest son at age 69.

Dave and Ray spent a majority of their careers coaching girls basketball. Dave spent the last 12 seasons as the varsity coach at Bishop Foley before recently resigning. Ray was Dave’s junior varsity coach the past 21 seasons.

“My dad started it all,” Dave said. “He owned Annis Market on 9 Mile (Road) and Hilton in Ferndale. He coached federation ball, and each team had to have a sponsor. The market was ours for a number of years. Growing up we would go along with Mom and Dad to the ball field. My dad coached, and my mom would sell concessions. So we were in sports all of our lives. We all started at a very young age. My dad coached me until I was 18. It was fun. Those were great times.”

Dave Joseph said what he’ll miss most is watching the improvement of the players coinciding with the improvement of the teams. What happened in between was what adults would call the foolishness of youth, what Dave termed ‘giddiness’.

Matt has had the most success. He started coaching at the varsity level in 1990 at East Detroit as he ran both the baseball and boys basketball programs. From 1996-2000 he coached three varsity teams adding girls basketball to the list. After the 2000-01 school year, Matt left East Detroit and accepted a counseling position at Ford. He remained the baseball coach at East Detroit, and in 2004 he was hired as the girls varsity basketball coach at Ford.

It was during this time that Ford’s baseball coach Dan Barnabo switched over to coaching softball. It took Barnabo time to convince Matt to make the same switch.

“He convinced me to help him,” Matt said. “At first I said, ‘No, I’m a baseball guy.’ I finally did it. Then we switched again. (In 2011) I became the head coach and Dan’s my assistant. And he still is.”

As a school, Ford has never been to an MHSAA Softball Final, but Matt took his Falcons to the program’s first Semifinal in 2014 as Ford lost in Division 1 to Portage Central, 1-0.

Ford is 20-4 this season, ranked No. 6 in the state coaches poll, and could play No. 2 Macomb Dakota, last season’s Division 1 runner-up, in a District Final.

Dave Joseph’s teams didn’t make it as far as Matt’s in softball, but Dave’s 2013-14 Bishop Foley team did win the Detroit Catholic League C-D title.

And success is measured in many more ways than District or league titles. As a person, Matt Joseph is content. He’s lived a good and happy life and is proud of where he came from and the guidance he and his wife gave their three children.

“I just believed in what I was doing,” he said. “And my kids did all the things I did when I was growing up. They came with me to East Detroit as a water boy or water girl and a bat boy. It’s what we did as a family. And they all played at least two varsity sports.”

Evidently Annis Joseph sold more than fruits and vegetables at his market. He was able to convince many in his family that by participating in athletics, and becoming passionate about them, those experiences could lead one to riches not measured in dollars and cents, but where commitment and family are their own rewards.

Tom Markowski is a columnist and directs website coverage for the State Champs! Sports Network. He previously covered primarily high school sports for the The Detroit News from 1984-2014, focusing on the Detroit area and contributing to statewide coverage of football and basketball. Contact him at with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) One branch of the coaching Josephs surrounds grandfather Annis, clockwise from top left, Ryan, Matt, Emily and Teresa. (Middle) Annis, left, and Matt Joseph when Annis was coaching at Ferndale and Matt at East Detroit. (Below) Matt Joseph celebrates a basketball championship with daughter Teresa during her playing days. (Photos courtesy of the Joseph family).

2023 WISL Award Honoree Glass Continuing to Create Leaders On Court & Off

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 2, 2023

Hailing from one of Michigan’s smallest communities, Laurie Glass has made an impact that continues to connect all over Michigan.

But her impact on women’s athletics began long before a career that has seen the longtime Leland volleyball coach become one of the winningest in her sport in state history.

As a high school junior in 1976, she recruited seven classmates and a coach to form Leland’s first girls sports team – for basketball – and the same group then played volleyball that winter. She was a senior and major contributor when, during their second season, the Comets won the 1978 Class D volleyball championship.

More than four decades later, Glass is a Michigan legend in that sport – a winner of 1,218 matches with Leland and Traverse City Central and three Finals championships with the Comets. She’s also a nationally-recognized voice in volleyball and women’s athletics as a whole – and this year’s MHSAA Women in Sports Leadership honoree for those many and continuing contributions.

“Because I’m a teacher and coach, that’s my desire to help the youth be the best they could be. And if I can impact a coach or impact another district or program, that means I’m affecting more youth in a positive way,” Glass said. “So for me, it’s just the ripple effect; it gets a lot bigger when I’m starting little drops in other places. So I can affect the hundreds of kids that I’ve seen go through Leland, or I can impact the larger audience by impacting coaches or impacting kids in other places that can then impact other people. It allows me a wider audience for wanting to help young women to be their best young woman self in however way I can make that happen.”

Each year, the Representative Council considers the achievements of women coaches, officials and athletic administrators affiliated with the MHSAA who show exemplary leadership capabilities and positive contributions to athletics.

Leland finished 49-13 this past season and reached the Division 4 Quarterfinals. Glass has a record of 1,218-393-122 over more than three decades as a varsity volleyball coach, having led the Comets for a combined 29 seasons over three tenures, the first beginning with the 1989-90 winter season and later picking up with her most recent return for Fall 2010. She also coached Traverse City Central for four seasons beginning in 1991-92.

Glass passes the championship trophy to her team after the Comets won the 2015 Class D title.Glass led Leland to Class D Finals championships in 2002, 2006 and 2015, and runner-up finishes in Class D in 2014 and Division 4 in 2018 and 2019. She was named to the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association (MIVCA) Hall of Fame in 2006, and selected as national Coach of the Year in volleyball in 2014 by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association. She’s a three-time MIVCA Coach of the Year and was named Michigan High School Coaches Association (MHSCA) Coach of the Year for volleyball in 2015. She also was a finalist for National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) national Coach of the Year in 2014. 

Glass has spoken multiple times at the MHSAA Women In Sports Leadership Conference and several times at the MIVCA Coaches Clinic, and among various other engagements was the featured speaker at the Nebraska Athletic Association Coaches Clinic. She will receive the Women In Sports Leadership Award during the MHSAA Division 1 Girls Basketball Final on March 18 at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

“Laurie Glass is recognized most on the statewide level for leading one of the most successful volleyball programs in state history. But she is known among her peers most for the way she teaches not only volleyball but life skills to her athletes,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “Her leadership creates more leaders, be they the athletes who have the opportunity to play for her or the coaches who learn from her and receive her mentorship.”   

Glass’ roots are in one of the most accomplished athletic families in Michigan high school history.

Her father Larry Glass coached Northwestern University’s men’s basketball program from 1963-69, and later took over the Leland girls basketball program and led the Comets to a 388-110 record and three straight Class D Finals championships (1980-82) over two tenures from 1977-91 and 2000-05. Laurie’s sister Rebecca McKee played basketball at Leland and Michigan State University, and her brother Michael Glass played basketball at Lansing Community College before also becoming a high school and college coach.

Laurie also coached and parented arguably the most accomplished volleyball player – and perhaps top female athlete across all sports – in Michigan high school history. Her daughter Alisha Glass-Childress graduated from Leland in 2006 with national records for career kills, aces and blocks, and the first two still top those respective lists. Alisha, also an all-state basketball player, went on to star on the volleyball court at Penn State and as the U.S. Olympic team setter in 2016 in helping that team to the bronze medal.

Larry Glass’ lessons still ring true as Laurie passes them on to another generation. One of her favorite sayings from her father was “you can’t take money out of the bank until you put money in” – in essence, a coach can’t expect athletes to accept criticism or a hard ask if that coach first hasn’t invested in them. Another of her dad’s themes involved making sure players learned fundamentals at young ages and improved on them at all levels, whether they won games or not during those early years. As one of his middle school coaches, that stuck with her, and it remains a basic component of her coaching.

“I’ve always said that we compete with teams that are way more athletic, have all the things on paper that should beat us. And the fact that we know how to be a really good team is what allows us to beat people who on paper should be better than us,” Laurie Glass said. “I’ve always valued the time spent on culture and team because that’s the advantage we hold. We’re never going to be the tallest or most talented – Alisha being the anomaly, of course.”

Laurie Glass has served on the MIVCA Executive Board, including as president, and is a member of the MHSCA and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Locally, her program annually hosts the Forever Dig Abby match in honor of former player Abby Gross, who died after a fight against cancer in 2015. Proceeds most years go to benefit another community member battling the disease, and this past season went to a fund for efforts related to ovarian cancer.  

Glass has served nearly 35 years in education and retired from her duties as a behavior intervention specialist and special education teacher in the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District in 2019. She has returned to the school setting, however, and is in her second year as a behavior intervention specialist at Leland.

Glass earned a bachelor’s degree in special education with an endorsement in emotional impairment from Western Michigan University in 1988, and has done master-level coursework in education administration and technology. She also is a certified instructor for the Crisis Prevention Institute. Glass first attended Grand Valley State University and played a season of volleyball before transferring. (NOTE: Glass also coached the Kalamazoo Central varsity for two seasons during the mid-1980s. Those records are unavailable currently but will be added to her overall record when research is complete.)

Past Women In Sports Leadership Award Winners

1990 – Carol Seavoy, L’Anse 
1991 – Diane Laffey, Harper Woods
1992 – Patricia Ashby, Scotts
1993 – Jo Lake, Grosse Pointe
1994 – Brenda Gatlin, Detroit
1995 – Jane Bennett, Ann Arbor
1996 – Cheryl Amos-Helmicki, Huntington Woods
1997 – Delores L. Elswick, Detroit
1998 – Karen S. Leinaar, Delton
1999 – Kathy McGee, Flint 
2000 – Pat Richardson, Grass Lake
2001 – Suzanne Martin, East Lansing
2002 – Susan Barthold, Kentwood
2003 – Nancy Clark, Flint
2004 – Kathy Vruggink Westdorp, Grand Rapids 
2005 – Barbara Redding, Capac
2006 – Melanie Miller, Lansing
2007 – Jan Sander, Warren Woods
2008 – Jane Bos, Grand Rapids
2009 – Gail Ganakas, Flint; Deb VanKuiken, Holly
2010 – Gina Mazzolini, Lansing
2011 – Ellen Pugh, West Branch; Patti Tibaldi, Traverse City
2012 – Janet Gillette, Comstock Park
2013 – Barbara Beckett, Traverse City
2014 – Teri Reyburn, DeWitt
2015 – Jean LaClair, Bronson
2016 – Betty Wroubel, Pontiac
2017 – Dottie Davis, Ann Arbor
2018 – Meg Seng, Ann Arbor
2019 – Kris Isom, Adrian
2020 – Nikki Norris, East Lansing
2021 – Dorene Ingalls, St. Ignace
2022 – Lori Hyman, Livonia

PHOTOS (Top) Leland coach Laurie Glass confers with one of her players during the 2019 Division 4 Final at Kellogg Arena. (Middle) Glass passes the championship trophy to her team after the Comets won the 2015 Class D title.