AD Inducted to National Hall of Fame

May 7, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor 

Winter gets hectic so quickly that we’re forced to save some intriguing items that come our way for a sunnier day – and that day is today.

Following are news, notes and a few key links collected over the last few months, including the national Hall of Fame induction of a longtime Michigan athletic director, local recognition for another and statewide acclaim for a group of students putting their video production equipment to good use benefiting all.

Ann Arbor AD Honored Nationally

Former Ann Arbor Huron athletic director Jane Bennett was among five inducted into the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Hall of Fame in December.

Bennett served 26 years as a teacher, coach, athletic director and assistant principal in Michigan before spending the last decade as a principal at two schools in Montana. She served as athletic director at Huron for 15 years through 2002-03. The NIAAA reported that during her final decade in that position, participation in athletics doubled. 

Bennett, who received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan, began her career at Huron in 1977 as varsity softball coach and became a math teacher and the co-director of athletics a year later. She coached the softball team 14 seasons before moving into the full-time athletic director position. Bennett was co-founder of the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association and served as MHSSCA president from 1982-87.

Among other achievements at Huron, Bennett was a leader in a successful campaign to gain voter approval of a $60 million bond package, which included $20 million to improve and expand athletic facilities. She also developed curriculum for an annual varsity captains/head coaches leadership training program and composed handbooks/guidebooks for coaches, athletes and parents.

Bennett also was a valuable contributor to the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association and the NIAAA. She was president of the MIAAA in 1993-94 and a state conference speaker on several occasions. Bennett also served in various NIAAA leadership positions including on the committee that developed the Leadership Training Institute in 1996.

Bennett was named MIAAA Athletic Director of the Year in 1998 and received its State Award of Merit in 1997. She received the MHSAA’s Women in Sports Leadership Award in 1995 and was inducted into the MHSSCA Hall of Fame in 1995. Prior to her selection to the NIAAA Hall of Fame, Bennett was honored with the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award in 1998 and the NIAAA Thomas E. Frederick Award of Excellence in 2000. In 2005, she was inducted into the National Council of Secondary School Athletic Directors Hall of Fame, having served as its president in 2003 and been selected as its Athletic Director of the Year in 1998.

PSL's Ward: 'Pillar' of Detroit Athletics

Alvin Ward, the executive director of athletics for the Detroit Public School League and a member of the MHSAA Representative Council, received a 2014 Pillar in the Community Award in April from the Coast II Coast All-Stars, a Detroit-based pro basketball team that plays in the American Basketball Association.

Ward has served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal as well for Detroit Public Schools, and directs programs with a combined 500 coaches and 4,500 athletes.

Linked up

  • This winter, the MHSAA Representative Council adopted a number of football practice rules changes aimed at improving player acclimatization at the start of fall and reducing head trauma and injuries. The Adrian Daily Telegram’s Doug Donnelly got responses from a number of coaches from that area of the state; click to find out why they feel these changes are important.

  • Port Huron Times Herald writer Paul Costanzo let people know about our Student Advisory Council through the experience of Marlette’s Connor Thomas, one of our juniors and a great contributor this school year.

Power of Awareness 

The Kimberly Anne Gillary Foundation works to educate Michigan schools on sudden cardiac arrest and train personnel in CPR and the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator). The video below teaches us again about the importance of awareness.

Saginaw Heritage was awarded $5,000 in April as the winner of the Gillary Foundation’s High School AED Contest. Students were asked to create a 3-minute video emphasizing the importance of Michigan high schools being adequately prepared to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest or related event on school property.

Randy and Sue Gillary created the foundation after their 15-year-old daughter Kimberly – an athlete at Troy Athens – died after suffering sudden cardiac arrest in 2000. The contest judges were Kimberly’s sisters Emily Kucinich, Jennifer Gregroy and Katie Gillary.

As of April 1, the Gillary Foundation had raised $1.2 million and donated 650 AEDs to schools – with three lives having been saved with donated AEDs. For more, click

Medalist Scott Leads Escanaba Charge Back to Top of UPD1 Leaderboard

By Jack Hall
Special for

May 29, 2024

CHAMPION – Escanaba is back on top in high school girls golf after winning the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 1 championship Wednesday at the Wawonowin Country Club. 

The Eskymos won their fifth Finals title since 2016 by defeating last year's champion, Kingsford, by 22 strokes (399-421). Negaunee was third, 23 strokes back (422).

“It's been an up-and-down season,” Escanaba coach Jake Berlinski said. “It's a short season. The girls have worked so hard and in the end of it, we came through. The girls played great when it mattered the most. That's all you can ask for.”

Escanaba was led by sophomore Kamrie Scott, who won the medalist honor by shooting an 83. She was eight shots clear of runners-up Grace Maki (Kingsford) and Abby Dart (Houghton), who both carded 91s.

“This course, there are some holes that are tough, but I think I played it pretty well,” Scott said. “I was hitting them straight, and my putting was good, so things were going well. I was just going for the pin today. I was making putts, so it was working.”

Maki battled over the final four holes to earn a share of the runner-up honor for the Flivvers, and for herself, personally.

“I love this course,” Maki said. “I had some struggles. I had some 6s out there, but I did my best. My best hole was actually No. 2, which I birdied.”

Negaunee's Kennidy Glasheen and Marquette's Abby Luke finished tied for fourth, both with 96s. It was the last U.P. Finals for Luke, who made an impression with a hole-in-one at the 2023 championship tournament held on the ultra-tough Sage Run Golf Course.

Kingsford’s Ela Rizzo sends an approach shot during her round Wednesday. The only other sub-100 score this time around was turned in by Escanaba senior Maddie Wilson, who carded a 97 to finish in the sixth spot. It was her fourth UP Finals, and by far her highest finish on the leaderboard.

“It feels good, but it's a little bit sad,” Wilson said. “I'm glad we were able to pull away for our last year. Personally, for me, I just tried to stay really positive, and not get myself down during a bad shot. And especially tried not to get tired toward the end, because walking 18 holes is a lot. And I really focused on my putting today, which I feel helped me in the long run.”

Kingsford came out of nowhere in 2023 to win its first girls golf U.P. title in school history, and this year the Flivvers rallied down the stretch to take second place ahead of Negaunee. The Miners occupied second spot for most of the round before the Flivvers ended up with the runner-up trophy by one stroke.

“We saw the course was playing tough, across the board; top to bottom, scores were a little higher than normal,” Kingsford coach Ryan Pepin said. “The girls battled right to the end. We weren't sure how it was going to finish up. We're really proud of them. Great season.”

Pepin had just four golfers this year (three seniors and one sophomore), but they still managed to win the majority of their matches in the Great Northern Conference during the regular season.

“Our girls performed well,” Pepin said. “We went to battle every time with only four. Our seniors had great careers, the last two years, especially.”

Negaunee coach Dustin Hongisto said it was a great day for his group of Miners.

“I felt they played awesome,” Hongisto said. “They were just kind of a step back from these (top) teams all year, but all five of them played awesome today. I was really proud of my No. 1 girl, Kennidy. She shot her low round of the year. The fact that they lost by one at the end was a bummer, but I'm proud of them.”

Scott says it felt great to win the individual medalist honor, but she was even happier that the whole Escanaba team pulled through.

“I'm really proud of us,” she said. “We worked really hard this year, and it paid off. Just staying positive, and I think that helped us.”

Fellow Eskymos senior Sophia Derkos, playing in her fourth U.P. Final, summed it up.

“We work really good as a team,” she said. “We're very positive toward each other. There's a lot of hazards on this course, like waters and trees. I was just trying not to hit 'em in it, and it was hard, but we made it!

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Escanaba’s Lilly VanDamme lines up a putt during the Upper Peninsula Division 1 Final at Wawonowin Country Club. (Middle) Kingsford’s Ela Rizzo sends an approach shot during her round Wednesday. (Photos by Jack Hall.)