The Changing Face(book?) of Coaching

March 26, 2013

By Rob Kaminski
MHSAA benchmarks editor

From online video exchange programs such as to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the face of coaching and communicating with teams is ever-changing. How much is too much, and how are the new tools being used by the old guard?

With increasing frequency, today’s coaches are turning to technology to assist in their endeavors, particularly in video review and data compilation, as the number of programs available to them seems to grow on a daily basis.

Among the recent leaders, seems to have won the favor of football coaches across the state, reducing video exchange and study to a couple clicks of the mouse.

Several members of the MHSAA Student Advisory Council report that their football coaches use the web-based program, and even local officials associations are using it for film study.

Similar programs are making it easier for today’s coaches to analyze data and compile statistics as well.

“The dispensing of information is much quicker than it used to be,” said Marshall bowling coach Sue Hutchings. “We use a scoring software for our stats.”

In more “visual” sports such as competitive cheer, online video is now essential.

“Video playback and feedback to athletes has helped the sport 10-fold,” said Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg coach Abby Kanitz.

In some cases, coaches are taking the lead on such initiatives.

“I run the MISCA (Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association) website and receive plenty of positive feedback about us posting meet results and top times reports,” said Bloomfield Hills Andover coach David Zulkiewski. “I also visit weekly. Since I run the MISCA website, I want to make sure I have accurate and up-to-date information posted.”

Technology has also made the world a bit “greener” even in the small corner that is interscholastic athletics. From the required MHSAA rules meetings moving to an online format, to volumes of data now stored on flash drives rather than in file cabinets, coaches are realizing savings in both time and cost.

“The current state of track and field and cross country is so much more manageable than when I began,” said East Kentwood’s Dave Emeott. “I remember compiling actual papers from all over the state to keep track of the opposition, and now thanks to we have this access at the tip of our fingers.  These programs have also replaced nights spent inputting data and record-keeping.  I am sure I have replaced all that time elsewhere, but it is probably spent with kids and not with data.”

With the saturation and availability of these reports around the clock also comes temptation for those who are driven, and even obsessed, with such numbers. Coaches can rank near the top of that list.

“Technology can be extremely helpful and time-saving for coaches and teachers,” said Grand Haven wrestling coach James Richardson. “But,  the disadvantage is the coaches and athletes have a more difficult time getting away from the sport, as we have access to so much information, and others have more access to us. This can lead to too much time being devoted to our sport.”

It also might even take some of the fun out of the actual competition.

“I think the one negative side of technology is the lack of the unknown,” Emeott said. “There was a day when we would enter a meet and not really know how the day would turn out.  Now I have most meets scored within 10 points the day before we arrive.”

At times, such advance information also can lead to overconfidence heading into competition.

“Currently the MHSAA Final draw is posted online, and my players often see it and draw their own conclusions before I have a chance to talk to them about it,” said Allegan tennis coach Gary Ellis. “In the past, I was able to present their draw in the light in which I wanted them to see it.”

Another side effect is the indirect push to play beyond high school.

“There is a lot more social promotion and glamourizing of the athletes,” said Mike Van Antwerp, Holt lacrosse coach. “The recruiting pressure has increased tremendously, which is causing kids to commit earlier and go to great lengths to have a chance at being recruited.”

The world has indeed become a smaller, more familiar place. Not only can students and coaches learn pertinent statistics relating to any given opponent, they can also learn personal information about their competition through the deluge of social media vehicles.

It is in this realm where the greatest divide exists between coaches and their athletes when the subject of technology comes up.

Several members of the MHSAA Student Advisory Council indicate that their coaches do not use social media to assist with the daily activities involved with their sport, while others are but only on a limited basis.

It’s not that the coaches don’t know about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or the other platforms. More likely, they are all too well versed in the abuses of such mediums by young adults not yet ready to understand the lasting ramifications of a random tweet or damaging photo.

“We have specific rules for use of cell phones at practice, games, in the locker room, etc.,” said Diane Laffey, athletic director and coach at Warren Regina. “We also have a form for parents to sign if they want the coach to be able to text their daughter about practice or game cancellations or changes.  We stress that the texting only be for necessary things, and the parents are to give permission.”

Safeguarding against the misuse of handheld devices is becoming as commonplace as handing out uniforms prior to the season.

“By rule, our  players aren’t allowed to bring electronic devices to the court with them.  We restrict cell phone usage at practice,” said Portage Central tennis coach Peter Militzer. “Players must ‘friend’ the coach on either Facebook or Twitter, and I monitor their activities to make sure their language and behavior meets our standards. We restricted a player’s opportunity to play on varsity last season due to excessive use of crude language and an offensive user name on Twitter.”

PHOTO: This is a screenshot from, an online service used by high school football coaches for video analysis and archiving. 

2023 WISL Award Honoree Glass Continuing to Create Leaders On Court & Off

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 2, 2023

Hailing from one of Michigan’s smallest communities, Laurie Glass has made an impact that continues to connect all over Michigan.

But her impact on women’s athletics began long before a career that has seen the longtime Leland volleyball coach become one of the winningest in her sport in state history.

As a high school junior in 1976, she recruited seven classmates and a coach to form Leland’s first girls sports team – for basketball – and the same group then played volleyball that winter. She was a senior and major contributor when, during their second season, the Comets won the 1978 Class D volleyball championship.

More than four decades later, Glass is a Michigan legend in that sport – a winner of 1,218 matches with Leland and Traverse City Central and three Finals championships with the Comets. She’s also a nationally-recognized voice in volleyball and women’s athletics as a whole – and this year’s MHSAA Women in Sports Leadership honoree for those many and continuing contributions.

“Because I’m a teacher and coach, that’s my desire to help the youth be the best they could be. And if I can impact a coach or impact another district or program, that means I’m affecting more youth in a positive way,” Glass said. “So for me, it’s just the ripple effect; it gets a lot bigger when I’m starting little drops in other places. So I can affect the hundreds of kids that I’ve seen go through Leland, or I can impact the larger audience by impacting coaches or impacting kids in other places that can then impact other people. It allows me a wider audience for wanting to help young women to be their best young woman self in however way I can make that happen.”

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.

Leland finished 49-13 this past season and reached the Division 4 Quarterfinals. Glass has a record of 1,218-393-122 over more than three decades as a varsity volleyball coach, having led the Comets for a combined 29 seasons over three tenures, the first beginning with the 1989-90 winter season and later picking up with her most recent return for Fall 2010. She also coached Traverse City Central for four seasons beginning in 1991-92.

Glass passes the championship trophy to her team after the Comets won the 2015 Class D title.Glass led Leland to Class D Finals championships in 2002, 2006 and 2015, and runner-up finishes in Class D in 2014 and Division 4 in 2018 and 2019. She was named to the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association (MIVCA) Hall of Fame in 2006, and selected as national Coach of the Year in volleyball in 2014 by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association. She’s a three-time MIVCA Coach of the Year and was named Michigan High School Coaches Association (MHSCA) Coach of the Year for volleyball in 2015. She also was a finalist for National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) national Coach of the Year in 2014. 

Glass has spoken multiple times at the MHSAA Women In Sports Leadership Conference and several times at the MIVCA Coaches Clinic, and among various other engagements was the featured speaker at the Nebraska Athletic Association Coaches Clinic. She will receive the Women In Sports Leadership Award during the MHSAA Division 1 Girls Basketball Final on March 18 at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

“Laurie Glass is recognized most on the statewide level for leading one of the most successful volleyball programs in state history. But she is known among her peers most for the way she teaches not only volleyball but life skills to her athletes,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “Her leadership creates more leaders, be they the athletes who have the opportunity to play for her or the coaches who learn from her and receive her mentorship.”   

Glass’ roots are in one of the most accomplished athletic families in Michigan high school history.

Her father Larry Glass coached Northwestern University’s men’s basketball program from 1963-69, and later took over the Leland girls basketball program and led the Comets to a 388-110 record and three straight Class D Finals championships (1980-82) over two tenures from 1977-91 and 2000-05. Laurie’s sister Rebecca McKee played basketball at Leland and Michigan State University, and her brother Michael Glass played basketball at Lansing Community College before also becoming a high school and college coach.

Laurie also coached and parented arguably the most accomplished volleyball player – and perhaps top female athlete across all sports – in Michigan high school history. Her daughter Alisha Glass-Childress graduated from Leland in 2006 with national records for career kills, aces and blocks, and the first two still top those respective lists. Alisha, also an all-state basketball player, went on to star on the volleyball court at Penn State and as the U.S. Olympic team setter in 2016 in helping that team to the bronze medal.

Larry Glass’ lessons still ring true as Laurie passes them on to another generation. One of her favorite sayings from her father was “you can’t take money out of the bank until you put money in” – in essence, a coach can’t expect athletes to accept criticism or a hard ask if that coach first hasn’t invested in them. Another of her dad’s themes involved making sure players learned fundamentals at young ages and improved on them at all levels, whether they won games or not during those early years. As one of his middle school coaches, that stuck with her, and it remains a basic component of her coaching.

“I’ve always said that we compete with teams that are way more athletic, have all the things on paper that should beat us. And the fact that we know how to be a really good team is what allows us to beat people who on paper should be better than us,” Laurie Glass said. “I’ve always valued the time spent on culture and team because that’s the advantage we hold. We’re never going to be the tallest or most talented – Alisha being the anomaly, of course.”

Laurie Glass has served on the MIVCA Executive Board, including as president, and is a member of the MHSCA and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Locally, her program annually hosts the Forever Dig Abby match in honor of former player Abby Gross, who died after a fight against cancer in 2015. Proceeds most years go to benefit another community member battling the disease, and this past season went to a fund for efforts related to ovarian cancer.  

Glass has served nearly 35 years in education and retired from her duties as a behavior intervention specialist and special education teacher in the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District in 2019. She has returned to the school setting, however, and is in her second year as a behavior intervention specialist at Leland.

Glass earned a bachelor’s degree in special education with an endorsement in emotional impairment from Western Michigan University in 1988, and has done master-level coursework in education administration and technology. She also is a certified instructor for the Crisis Prevention Institute. Glass first attended Grand Valley State University and played a season of volleyball before transferring. (NOTE: Glass also coached the Kalamazoo Central varsity for two seasons during the mid-1980s. Those records are unavailable currently but will be added to her overall record when research is complete.)

Past Women In Sports Leadership Award Winners

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
2022 – Lori Hyman, Livonia

PHOTOS (Top) Leland coach Laurie Glass confers with one of her players during the 2019 Division 4 Final at Kellogg Arena. (Middle) Glass passes the championship trophy to her team after the Comets won the 2015 Class D title.