And the MHSAA Survey Says ...

April 2, 2015

By Rob Kaminski
MHSAA benchmarks editor

A survey of MHSAA member schools was conducted in the fall of 2014 aimed to determine opinions for and against a myriad of out-of-season coaching/contact period topics within the school year.

Below are some of the summaries drawn from that survey, plus a map of zones referred to in a number of points.

Survey Summary and Highlights

The larger the school, the higher the percentage of students who are involved in organized non-school sports.

The Detroit metro area (Zone 3) has the highest percentage of respondents in each of two groups in which the highest percentage of students are involved in organized non-school sports ... the 60 to 80% and 40 to 60% groups. The Grand Rapids area (Zone 6) ranks second.

The northern Lower Peninsula (Zone 7) and the Upper Peninsula (Zone 8) have the highest percentage of respondents in the group in which the lowest percentage of students are involved in organized non-school sports . . . the 0 to 20% group. This is also true of Zones 1, 2 and 5, although less dramatically.

In the majority of schools, coaches work with students out of season under the three- or four-player rule for a few weeks just before the season. This is generally true regardless of school classification or geographic zone.

In nearly 80% of schools, the frequency of coaches working with students out of season under the three- or four-player rule is one or two days a week.

100% of schools that sponsor basketball hold open gyms for basketball. Two-thirds of volleyball schools hold volleyball open gyms. Half of lacrosse schools hold lacrosse open gyms. Open gyms in baseball, softball and soccer occur in 40 to 45% of responding schools. Open gyms are less common for other sports.

More than half of all schools conduct open gyms for only a few weeks, just before the season begins.

In 85% of schools, the frequency of open gyms is one or two days a week.

The multi-sport athlete is common in schools of every classification, but more common in Class C and D schools than in Class A and B.

The multi-sport athlete is common in schools of every geographical zone, but more common in Zones 1, 2, 4, 7 and 8 than in Zones 3, 5 and 6.

Two-thirds of schools do not ban athletes from out-of-season workouts while in-season in a different school sport. Permitting weightlifting is most common (84%), then three- or four-player workouts (70%), then conditioning (66%) and open gyms (65%), and finally non-school competitions (57%).

Single-sport coaches are more common in smaller schools than larger (perhaps because fewer sports are sponsored in smaller schools).

For one question, schools were asked to rate ideas from 1 (I like the concept) to 6 (I do not like the concept). Average would be 3.5.

More than 60% of schools favor a no-contact period for all out-of-season sports at the start of every other sport’s season. (Support ranges from 55% for Class A schools to 65% for Class D schools and from 56% for Zones 1 and 3 to 71% for Zone 7.)

More than 72% of schools favor (in conjunction with a no-contact period) a defined contact period out of season. Support ranges from 69% for Class B schools to 76% for Class D schools and from 64% in Zone 6 to 88% in Zone 1.

Two-thirds of schools favor setting a limit on the number of contact days for out-of-season coaching. Support ranges from 63% for Class A schools to 72% for Class C schools and from 50% for Zone 2 to 73% for Zone 1.

More than 68% of schools favor setting a limit on the number of contact days in a week. There’s almost no difference based on school class. Support ranges from 58% in Zone 6 to 76% in Zone 5.

Counting days more than players – that is, allowing practice with any number of students for a defined number of days over a period of time – is favored by more than 72% of schools. Support ranges from 69% for Class D to 76% for Class A and from 59% for Zone 5 to 76.5% for Zone 3.

The least support of any idea surveyed was for allowing scrimmage competition (allowing the coach to coach any number of students from that coach’s school in competition against individuals not enrolled in that school).

More than 62% of schools favor a rule that would allow a school coach to coach a non-school team within a defined contact period; that is, a team with students from the coach’s school (and possibly other schools too), but not supported with school funds, administration, insurance, uniforms, etc. Support ranged from 58% for Class C schools to 68% for Class B schools. Support ranged from 54% for Zone 2 to 69% for Zone 6.

This is the most popular proposal (doesn’t preclude others being approved too): 84% of schools favor removing the phrase “under one roof” from Regulation II, Section 11(H) 2 a (see Tuesday's report). Support ranged from 80% for Class D schools to 86% for Class C schools and from 78% in Zone 2 to 89% for Zone 5.

Removing the portion of Interpretation 237 which prohibits setting up rotations that would allow a coach to work with dozens of players who rotate to his/her direct attention in groups of three or four is favored by 69% of schools, but with a distinct large school vs. small school difference of opinion: Class A (80.5% favorable), Class B (72.9%), Class C (61.3%) and Class D (61.7%).

Kent City's Evers Selected for NFHS National 'Coach of the Year' Honor

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

January 11, 2023

Kent City cross country coach Jill Evers has been named the 2021-22 National Coach of the Year for girls cross country by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.

Evers was selected by a committee including representatives from all eight NFHS sections – Michigan is part of Section 4 with Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.

The following brief bio includes an excerpt from Evers’ coaching philosophy, which nominees were asked to submit after being identified as candidates for the awards.

Jill EversJill Evers joined the Kent City athletic staff as an assistant cross country coach in 1991 after previously coaching a season each at Allegan High School and Allegan Middle School. She took over Kent City’s girls and boys varsity cross country programs in 1993 and also has served as head girls track & field coach since 1993. She led Kent City’s girls cross country team to a Lower Peninsula Division 3 Final runner-up finish in 2021, the program’s second runner-up finish under her leadership, and she’s also guided Kent City’s girls program to 15 league and seven Regional titles and nine total top-eight Finals finishes. She previously was named an NFHS Section Coach of the Year for girls track & field in 2006 after leading Kent City’s girls track & field team to its first MHSAA Finals championship in that sport, and inducted into the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2012. Evers also is a longtime science teacher at Kent City and advisor and mentor for a variety of school activities in addition to coaching.

“I know people say, ‘Athletics is an extension of the classroom,’ but I believe it's so much more than that. While participating in sports, young people can learn about themselves and others, challenge themselves and grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. Athletics is where we learn life lessons, such as how to lose with grace, cheer for teammates and even opponents, win with humility, deal with adversity, empathize with others, respect all those involved, be grateful for healthy bodies and opportunities to compete and push ourselves beyond what was originally thought possible. Success is different for each person, but I believe cross country lends itself to individual success. Everyone can improve and learn lifelong healthy habits. Everyone can set and achieve goals. Those who aren't as fast often earn the respect of the more gifted runners because of their perseverance. It is my job as a coach to encourage, motivate, and challenge all students who want to participate, and then congratulate them for a job well done.”

Three more Michigan coaches earned honors in Section 4. Mark Posey was honored in boys golf after leading Big Rapids to a 10th-place finish in Lower Peninsula Division 3 in 2022 after four straight Finals runner-up finishes. (There was no LP boys golf season in 2020 due to COVID-19.) Lake Orion boys lacrosse coach Ronald Hebert was honored after guiding his team to the Division 1 Quarterfinals last spring after taking the Dragons to the Semifinals in 2021. Scott Werner was honored in girls track & field after leading Pewamo-Westphalia to a runner-up finish at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals. P-W shared the LPD3 Finals championship in 2021 and has won titles four of the last nine seasons (not counting 2020).

The NFHS has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982.