Coach Connection

April 21, 2017

It has been a record-setting year for the Coaches Advancement Program (CAP) of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the interactive and face-to-face, eight-level coaches education program which the MHSAA delivers “anytime, anywhere” across the state and in conjunction with several Michigan colleges and universities.

With 20 more sessions still to occur, attendance has already exceeded the previous high of 2,055 course completions in 2013-14. By the end of this school year, individuals will have completed more than 25,000 CAP units since the 2004-05 school year.

MHSAA Assistant Director Kathy Westdorp is the energy behind this program. She’s an educator at heart and she lights up when welcoming coaches to CAP sessions. A growing cadre of presenters deliver CAP under her watchful eye.

It could have been easier had the MHSAA outsourced coaches education to an online provider; but too much would have been missed. Newer coaches would not have benefited from connecting with more seasoned coaches during group discussions; and the MHSAA would have missed this week-after-week connection with coaches of all sports in all parts of Michigan.

The thousands of dollars and hours that the MHSAA devotes to CAP demonstrates this organization’s belief that nothing – absolutely nothing – is more important in the process of educational athletics than the quality of the coach-athlete connection.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.