Lessons Passed Down the Coaching Tree

July 18, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Lessons, like legends, are meant to be passed from generation to generation.

And just as parents hand them down to their children who then do the same, coaches teach athletes the best of what they learned as athletes themselves. Some of those athletes then become coaches as well, and in turn, educate a next group of teenagers growing up in part through their participation in sports.

As we begin to turn our eyes toward another school year beginning next month, here are a few favorite lessons taught by four recent participants of the MHSAA’s Coaches Advancement Program – with back stories on how they learned those lessons themselves and explanations of why passing them on continues to be important.

We are family

Steve Brooks
Ypsilanti boys basketball

Bio: Brooks led the Ypsilanti High School program the last 10 seasons, guiding the Phoenix last winter to its first Regional championship since 1981. He has been selected as the first boys basketball coach for the newly-formed Ypsilanti Community Schools, a merger of the former Ypsilanti and Willow Run districts. Previously, he coached three seasons at Inkster and also led that program to the Quarterfinals.

Lesson learned: Brooks was in fourth grade when he and a friend happened to ride their bike past Flint Northern’s football practice field during one of coach Fred Crawford’s training sessions. The noise and excitement and especially the defensive coaches yelling first caught the kids’ attention; Brooks and his friend ended up watching through the fence until Crawford approached and asked if they’d like a closer look. “He said, ‘Hey, you’re going to be a Viking one day, aren’t ya?’ It was so simple. But it made an impression on me as a young man, the pride and tradition of going there,” Brooks said.

Brooks’ family later moved to a neighborhood in Flint Northwestern’s district. But when the school boundary was redrawn before his junior year – and he had his choice of staying or attending Northern – Brooks remembered saying he would be a Viking one day and made the switch. Building togetherness remains a major focus of Brooks’ Ypsilanti program today, 49 years after Crawford first invited him into Northern’s football family. 

Lesson taught: “At any time, our players can come in and talk about personal things and feel like they can let stuff out and it won’t go further than the people it’s entrusted to,” Brooks said. Making a connection to players begins early through his middle school coaches and remains key to building that familial trust.

It’s a philosophy that goes to Brooks’ core. “When you’re starting to coach nephews and younger brothers of players you’ve had, it’s that same type of feeling and promoting of family,” Brooks said.

Do the right thing

Heather Prentice
Portage Northern competitive cheer

Bio: Prentice has coached Portage Northern the last eight seasons and guided the 2007 and 2008 teams to the MHSAA Finals. Total, she’s coached cheer since 1986, including previous tenures at Climax-Scotts and Laingsburg.

Lesson learned: Prentice learned more from what she felt her high school experience lacked. She loved cheering – but decided as a coach to take an active role in the lives of her athletes. “I’ve matured the older I’ve gotten, and I think what’s become more important the older I’ve gotten is putting more of the focus on what I want my kids to leave with,” Prentice said.

“I’m not a parent, and I’m a person in their lives for a very short time,” she added. “But it’s a very significant period in life, and I try to carry myself as I would want them to remember me.”

Lesson taught: To that end, Prentice focuses on mixing plenty of fun with the hard work and lessons she teaches. Integrity ranks high on that list.

She’ll point out during workouts that if an athlete does 23 jumping jacks instead of 25, only that girl will know. But cutting corners, if it continues, tends to catch up with a person.

The payoff is finding out those lessons have paid off.

“The great thing about coaching for so long is you get letters or emails back from kids; ‘I thought of you today when I was disciplining my 3-year-old child,’ things like that. Or, ‘I went in for a job interview and they asked for one of my qualities. And I said I have integrity. I do have integrity, and you taught me that.’ Those are the cool moments,” Prentice said. “They really did hear me; they did hear what I am saying.

Accept responsibility

Duane Enderle
Birch Run girls and boys soccer

Bio: Enderle has coached Birch Run’s girls program since its start, and this spring led the Panthers girls to the District Final for the second time during the program’s six-season history. He also coached the boys for four seasons before taking the last two off, but will return to their sideline this fall.

Lesson learned: Enderle was a sophomore starter on his South Hagerstown, Md., team during one of the first seasons under eventual longtime coach Mike Tesla. At one point that season, Enderle didn’t make a Saturday practice – and during the next Monday’s game never left the bench.

“I learned at an early age it doesn’t matter how good you are. There’s always a consequence,” Enderle said.

Lesson taught: He’s noticed the last few seasons, both on the high school and club soccer fields, a growing number of players unable to control their emotions. “They get yellow cards and come out of a game for 10 minutes, and if it’s one of the good players it ends up hurting the team,” Enderle said.

He said this year’s Birch Run team saw a different side of him as he pushed accountability a little bit harder. It’s a lesson that doesn’t lose significance, even as athletes change over the years and push boundaries in different ways.

“That’s the biggest thing I try to pass on to them, their own self-responsibility and accounting for all of their actions,” Enderle said. “Everything they do always has consequences.”

One for all

Kim Crum
Mattawan girls lacrosse

Bio: Crum is a 2002 Mattawan graduate and played three seasons for the highly-successful softball program led by coach Alicia Smith. Crum just finished her third season coaching the school’s girls lacrosse team after previously coaching the Kalamazoo United team for three seasons.

Lesson learned: Being part of a team is a full commitment to those teammates, something Crum works to instill in her players each spring. She learned that in part as an athlete under Smith – who last season led Mattawan to its second MHSAA championship in three seasons. “With a group of teenage girls, a group of any teenagers for that matter, they form cliques and opinions of people before they get (on a team),” Crum said. “When we were on that team, there were people that didn’t agree, didn’t get along. But when we set foot in practice, for a game, we were part of a team and it didn’t matter what happened outside of there during the day. I try to tell the kids that now.”

Lesson taught: Instead of finishing practices with “1-2-3-Wildcats,” the team’s mascot, Mattawan closes with “1-2-3-Family!” Crum’s emphasis on “team commitment” also has grown through working with her assistant Matt Stephens, the school’s football coach during the fall.

Playing a high school sport often means seeing those coaches and teammates as much or more than family during that three or fourth-month span. Some of Crum’s lacrosse players have played together in the past or together on other sports teams. But she and Stephens are quick to remind them that each team, each season, is a new group with new dynamics to learn.

“Every time we do something, we look at it as how it affects the group,” Crum said. “We have to figure out how each other work. ... Be patient. By the end, we’ll figure things out.”

PHOTO: Ypsilanti boys basketball coach Steve Brooks (far right) celebrates with his team this March after leading the Phoenix to its first Regional title since 1981. (Photo courtesy of Randy Castro, Ann Arbor Journal.) 

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

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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.