Hall of Fame Heritage

April 29, 2014

Here are two little known facts. The chair of the first-ever high school level swimming & diving rules committee was Allen W. Bush, the MHSAA’s second full-time executive director. And yours truly, the MHSAA’s fourth full-time executive director, was the editor of the committee’s first rule book published by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

This connection to the sport of swimming & diving early in my career has caused me to keep track of some of the sport’s key personnel, including Dave Robertson (IL), Dennis McGinly (PA), Dick Hannula (WA) and Glenn Kaye (FL) who all served on the first NFHS committee and are now in the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) Hall of Fame. 

Last month in Austin, Texas, NISCA inducted Ann Arbor-Pioneer’s legendary coach Dennis Hill into its Hall of Fame. Dennis coached boys swimming & diving for 45 years and girls swimming & diving for 38 years at Pioneer. He did so with both grace and great success, and it saddens me to learn that this gentleman has announced his well-deserved retirement.

Dennis was preceded into NISCA’s Hall of Fame by Michigan coaches G. Robert Mowerson (1975-Battle Creek), Willard Cooley (1980-Jackson), C. William Brandell (1984-Battle Creek-Lakeview), William Reaume (1988-Detroit-Denby), William Laury (1989-Detroit-Cody), Michael Lane (1998-Bloomfield Hills-Andover), and Richard Edwards (2010-Lansing-Eastern). 

It’s people like these who have made and maintained Michigan’s excellent reputation among school-based swimming & diving programs across the US, overcoming the early efforts of the first wet-behind-the-ears rule book editor.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on MHSAA.com 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.