Ann Arbor Greenhills athletic director Meg Seng – also a member of the MHSAA Representative Council – has been named the first Peg Pennepacker Paving the Way Award winner by the Global Community of Women in High School Sports.
Seng is in her 38th year of service to schools and athletes, and has served as Greenhills athletic director since 2003 after previously teaching and/or coaching there and Ann Arbor Huron.
The honor from GCWHSS recognizes Seng’s contribution to encouraging female athletes to become coaches. In 2001, Seng co-founded The Academy of Sports Leadership, a non-profit organization that provides education and training for women interested in becoming coaches.
In 2021, Seng received a Citation from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). She also has received the MHSAA’s Women In Sports Leadership Award and Allen W. Bush Award, as well as the Jack Johnson Dedicated Service Award from the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA). Seng was named state Athletic Director of the Year by the MIAAA and Michigan High School Coaches Association (MHSCA) during the 2021-22 school year.
Seng received her Pennepacker Award during the recent National Athletic Directors Conference in Nashville, Tenn. Her Greenhills athletic program also was one of two from Michigan (with Mattawan) to receive a Quality Program Award from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA).
Pennepacker, from Pennsylvania, is an NIAAA Leadership Training Course national faculty member and considered one of the foremost experts nationally on Title IX issues. She formerly served in education for more than 36 years and continues her service in various roles in her state and nationally. She’s received the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award and was inducted into the NIAAA Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
Jack Johnson, a legendary swim coach at Dearborn and honoree with the MHSAA's Charles E. Forsythe Award in 1988, was among eight inductees into the NIAAA Hall of Fame.
Johnson served as a teacher, athletic director and coach at Dearborn High School for nearly 40 years, leading the boys swimming & diving team to Lower Peninsula Class A championships in 1971, 1972 and 1974 and being named state Athletic Director of the Year by the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) in 1983.
He also received an NFHS Citation in 1984 and was inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame that same year; the MHSCA Hall of Fame reports that Johnson won 13 league championships over 17 years and coached 25 high school All-Americans.
Johnson, who died at age 90 in 2019, also served on the MHSAA Representative council, and the MIAAA Distinguished Service Award is named for him.
A first-of-its-kind mentorship program is greeting more than 100 first-time high school athletic directors who are officially beginning their tenures at Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools with the start of the 2023-24 school year.
The “AD Connection Program” has matched those first-year high school athletic directors with one of eight mentors who have recently retired from the field and will now provide assistance as those new administrators transition to this essential role in school sports.
A total of 102 first-year high school athletic directors are beginning at MHSAA schools, meaning a new athletic administrator will be taking over at nearly 14 percent of the 750 member high schools across the state. Athletic director turnover at MHSAA high schools has reached 10 percent or more annually over the last few years, and it’s hoped that this additional mentorship will support athletic directors adjusting to the high pace and responsibilities of the position for the first time.
The AD Connection Program will build on training received at the required in-service program all new athletic directors must attend each fall. There is also a strong connection to programming from the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), the professional development organization for the state’s athletic administrators.
"When you crystalize it, the AD Connection Program is an attempt for us to give a true year-long in-service to new athletic directors with people who have done it,” said MHSAA Assistant Director Brad Bush, who is coordinating the program and joined the MHSAA staff in January after more than two decades as an athletic administrator at Chelsea High School. “This also connects new ADs with a larger professional group, and it will culminate in March at the annual MIAAA conference, where there will be several face-to-face meetings with all ADs.
“These mentors are meant to become that first-year AD’s go-to person.”
Mentors will conduct frequent meetings with their cohorts. They also will meet monthly (or more) with each first-time athletic director individually via zoom, and at least once during the academic year face-to-face at the mentee’s school.
The eight mentors, noting their most recent schools as an athletic director, are Chris Ervin (most recently at St. Johns), Brian Gordon (Royal Oak), Sean Jacques (Calumet), Tim Johnston (East Grand Rapids), Karen Leinaar (Frankfort), Scott Robertson (Grand Haven), Meg Seng (Ann Arbor Greenhills) and Wayne Welton (Chelsea). Leinaar also will serve as the AD Connection Program’s liaison to the MIAAA, which she serves as executive director.
High school practices at MHSAA member schools may begin today, Monday Aug. 7, for the nine fall sports for which the MHSAA sponsors a postseason tournament. The AD Connection Program was approved by the MHSAA Representative Council during its annual Winter Meeting on March 24.
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 1.3 million spectators each year.