Lori Hyman was a sports standout in high school, then at Michigan State University. She then coached college basketball for 17 years, starting when she was only 23 years old, and surely could’ve continued down that path.
While always a leader, she decided to change gears in 1995 and provide guidance another way – coaching up coaches as a high school athletic director. Over the next 27 years, she became one of the most respected ADs in Michigan – and contributed in that role at her alma mater Livonia Stevenson over the last 22.
To celebrate her many contributions to school sports, at home but also statewide, Hyman has been named the 35th recipient of the MHSAA Women In Sports Leadership Award. She will receive the award during the Division 1 Girls Basketball Final on March 19 at Michigan State’s Breslin Center.
Hyman served her first five years as an athletic director at Dexter, making the move there after four college basketball coaching stops. After a memorable hoops career at MSU, she served as a women’s basketball graduate assistant at Ferris State University and then head coach at Northwood Institute (now University) from 1981-82 – when she was only 23 years old – through 1985-86.
She then served as an assistant at University of Illinois before returning as head coach at Ferris State from 1989-90 through 1994-95. In Fall 1995, she began at Dexter.
“Every part of my career I’ve been happy with, and honored, and just thoroughly enjoyed it,” Hyman said. “It’s been a passion of mine, every aspect.
“(Playing at Michigan State) was one of the best times, if not the best time, of my life as a youngster. And then being an athletic director has probably been the most rewarding as an adult. And being at Stevenson, coming back home, has been quite an honor and just a very rich experience for me.”
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.
Hyman is a 1975 graduate of Stevenson, where she also played softball and competed in track & field. She was named MSU’s Outstanding Athlete of the Year for women’s basketball in 1979, after serving as co-captain of the team that season but missing the majority of it with an injury.
As an athlete at MSU, she joined her teammates in filing a 1978 discrimination complaint that requested the women’s basketball team receive travel allowances equal to those received by the Spartans men’s team. “It is very meaningful that Michigan State is where they are now, not just in women’s basketball but the women’s sport program,” Hyman said. “I feel like we were part of that growing and moving forward in a positive way, and I thank Michigan State for recognizing that and moving it forward.”
She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health in 1980 and has a master’s in athletic administration from Wayne State University. She received her certified master athletic administrator designation from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) in 2006.
Back at Stevenson, Hyman has directed the athletic program for a high school with nearly 1,700 students, which by enrollment ranks 50th out of 750 MHSAA member schools.
She has hosted a multitude of MHSAA Tournament events while at both Dexter and Stevenson and has served on the MHSAA’s girls tennis, girls basketball and boys basketball committees. She also has served as the girls and boys tennis commissioner of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association, of which Stevenson is a member.
“Lori has been a leader and pioneer in the world of athletics, and in particular as an advocate for females and girls sports,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “When she left coaching basketball to work as an AD, it was an incredible victory for kids in our state. She’s been dependable, loyal and just a model of consistency in running a first-class program.”
Hyman was named her region’s Athletic Director of the Year by the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) in 2014 and received its Jack Johnson Distinguished Service Award in 2015.
As an instructor for the MIAAA, Hyman has provided training particularly to beginning athletic directors. She has served as a Leadership Training Institute instructor as well for the MIAAA and as a presider and speaker at the MIAAA’s annual conference. She also has spoken at the MHSAA’s Women In Sports Leadership Conference.
“I’ve always been an advocate for women in sports and equal opportunity,” Hyman added. “I treat all of the sports here equally, male and female. But if I feel that there needs to be a little bit more advocacy for women in sports, whether it’s coaching and getting more girls involved, or officiating, administration, any kind of leadership, I’m really big on that.”
“I’m a big advocate for women in athletics, but (also) just athletics in general.”
In addition to her vast school sports responsibilities and contributions, Hyman has volunteered with Special Olympics, Livonia’s Newburg United Methodist Church and Rotary Club.
The first Women In Sports Leadership Award was presented in 1990.
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
PHOTO Livonia Stevenson athletic director Lori Hyman (right) and Finals swimming champion McKenzie Siroky hold up a championship medal alongside photos honoring Siroky's achievements. (Photo courtesy of the Stevenson athletic department.)
Michigan continued to rank 10th nationally in high school-aged population during the 2022-23 school year and continued to best that ranking in participation in high school sports, according to the annual national participation study conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
Michigan ranked ninth for overall participation nationally, based on a total of 268,070 participants who competed in sports for which the MHSAA conducts postseason tournaments. The total counts students once for each sport played, meaning students who are multiple-sport athletes are counted more than once.
Michigan also ranked ninth nationally for both girls (111,569) and boys (156,501) participation separately, while ranking ninth for high-school aged boys population and 10th for girls according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
Michigan’s national rankings in seven sports improved from 2021-22, while nine sports saw lower national rankings than the previous year. The biggest jumps came in girls volleyball and boys soccer, which both moved up two spots – volleyball to fourth-highest participation nationally, and boys soccer to eighth. Girls golf (fourth), softball (seventh), girls track & field (seventh), girls swimming & diving and boys swimming & diving (both eighth) also moved up on their respective national lists.
Participation in several more MHSAA sports also continued to outpace the state’s rankings for high school-aged population.
For girls, participation in bowling (fourth), tennis (fourth), cross country (sixth), basketball (seventh), competitive cheer (ninth) and soccer (ninth) all ranked higher than their population listing of 10th nationally. Among boys sports, bowling (second), ice hockey (fourth), tennis (fifth), golf (fifth), basketball (sixth), track & field (sixth), cross country (seventh), football – all formats combined (seventh) and baseball (eighth) exceeded that ninth ranking for population.
Only 11 states sponsor alpine skiing, but Michigan ranked third on both the girls and boys lists for that sport. Wrestling, with boys and girls totals counted together, ranked eighth.
Participation nationally rose more than three percent from 2021-22 to 7,857,969 participants, the first upward movement in participation data since the all-time record of 7,980,886 in 2017-18, which was followed by the first decline in 30 years in 2018-19 and the two-year halt in data collection by the NFHS related to the pandemic. (The MHSAA continued to collect and report its data during this time.) The national total includes 4,529,789 boys and 3,328,180 girls, according to figures obtained from the 51 NFHS member state associations, which include the District of Columbia.
Eleven-player football remained the most popular boys sport, and most popular participation sport overall, with the total climbing back over one million participants. The total of 1,028,761 participants marked an increase of 54,969 and 5.6 percent from the previous year. This year’s increase was the first in the sport since 2013 and only the second increase since the all-time high of 1,112,303 in 2008-09. There also was a slight gain (34,935 to 35,301) in the number of boys in 6-, 8- and 9-player football.
Next on the boys list were outdoor track & field, basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, cross country, tennis, golf, and swimming & diving, respectively.
On the girls side, outdoor track and field (up 6.5 percent) and volleyball (3.6) remained in the top two spots, while basketball reclaimed the third position. Cross country ranked fourth, followed by softball, soccer, golf, tennis, swimming & diving and competitive spirit, respectively.
Texas remained atop the list of state participation with 827,446, but California closed the gap in second adding 25,000 participants to climb to 787,697. New York is third with 356,803, followed by Illinois (335,801), Ohio (323,117), Pennsylvania (316,587), Florida (297,389), New Jersey (272,159), Michigan (268,070) and Minnesota (219,094), which climbed into the top 10 past Massachusetts.
The participation survey has been compiled in its current form by the NFHS since 1971.