2015 Bush Awards Honor 4 Veteran ADs

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

June 8, 2015

Four athletic directors with a combined 103 years of service to high school athletes – Kalamazoo Hackett’s Michael Garvey, Livonia Churchill’s Marc Hage, Pewamo-Westphalia’s Barry Hobrla and Saginaw Heritage’s Peter Ryan – have been named recipients of the Michigan High School Athletic Association's Allen W. Bush Award for 2015.

Al Bush served as executive director of the MHSAA for 10 years. The award honors individuals for past and continuing service to prep athletics as a coach, administrator, official, trainer, doctor or member of the media. The award was developed to bring recognition to men and women who are giving and serving without a lot of attention. This is the 24th year of the award, with selections made by the MHSAA's Representative Council.

“All four of this year’s honorees have been leaders in Michigan’s educational athletic community for more than two decades, making impacts both easily visible and behind the scenes with their guidance and expertise,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA. “We are grateful to all four for their service and pleased to honor them with the Bush Award.”

Mike GarveyGarvey, in his 21st school year as an athletic director, made some of his earliest educational impacts on the wrestling mat and was named the Michigan Wrestling Association’s state Coach of the Year in 1990 after leading Lawton to the Lower Peninsula Class D championship. He began his educational career at Marian Central Catholic in Woodstock, Ill., in 1981, then came to Lawton in 1985 and served there as athletic director from 1994-99. He then served as athletic director at Delton Kellogg from 1999-2006 and at Otsego from 2006-2010. He is finishing his fifth school year as Hackett’s athletic director.

Garvey is an active member of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association and National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. He has served on the faculty for the NIAAA’s Leadership Training Institute and as Michigan’s coordinator for the program, and also as the MIAAA’s 2nd vice president and as co-commissioner of the Kalamazoo Valley Association.

He’s been named a Regional Athletic Director of the Year by the MIAAA and received its George Lovich State Award of Merit. He’s a long-serving member of the MHSAA’s Wrestling Committee and has hosted numerous tournament events, and also has served as an MHSAA official for more than two decades registered for wrestling, baseball, softball, basketball, track & field and cross country. Garvey completed high school at The American School in London, England, and earned bachelor and master’s degrees from Western Michigan University.

“Mike Garvey is able to draw from his experiences as a successful coach and teach others to lead and achieve,” Roberts said. “His contributions to the MHSAA have been ample as a tournament host and knowledgeable voice on the Wrestling Committee, as he’s able to bring a valuable perspective of someone who has worked on the mat and in the athletic director’s role as well.”

Hage previously worked as an advertising account executive before making a decision to instead teach and coach. A graduate of Livonia Churchill, he returned in 1990 after also teaching at Holt and Berkley. He became Churchill’s athletic director in 1996. Hage has been a member of the MIAAA and NIAAA since becoming an administrator, and twice was named the MIAAA’s Athletic Director of the Year for his region. He also has received the Lovich State Award of Merit.

Hage served as president of the former Western Lakes Activities Association and then the current Kensington Lakes Activities Association while also hosting numerous MHSAA tournament events. He has served as an instructor and presenter at MIAAA conferences and also for the Michigan Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. 

He also remains active in a number of community efforts and previously served as coordinator of Special Olympics at Michigan State University and of the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart in Southfield, and as an instructor in lifeguarding and water safety for the American Red Cross. He earned bachelor’s degrees in communications and later physical education and a master’s in education from Michigan State University, and also studied at Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

“Marc Hage continues to be a valuable advocate for high school athletics, not only in his community but on a statewide level,” Roberts said. “His contributions to school sports at various levels have been numerous and influential, especially during his tenures as president of multiple leagues and as a presenter to his colleagues.” 

Hobrla has served as an athletic director for 29 years at Algonac, Lake Central, Ind., at Lowell from 1994-2013, and currently at Pewamo-Westphalia. He’s also served as a registered official for basketball, cross country and track & field.

Lowell added teams for girls soccer, ice hockey, boys and girls bowling, and boys and girls lacrosse while under Hobrla’s leadership. He also served as a host for MHSAA Finals in boys soccer from 1995-2006, track & field for three seasons and cross country for two.

Hobrla has served as an instructor for the MHSAA’s Coaches Advancement Program and also the National Federation Interscholastic Coaches Education Program. He served on a number of MIAAA committees and on its executive board from 2008-13, and was named a regional Athletic Director of the Year in 2006. Also while at Lowell, Hobrla served on committees for Cascade Township Parks & Recreation and the Lowell Area Trailway. He earned both bachelor and master’s degrees from Michigan State University after graduating from Lansing Everett High School.

“Barry Hobrla has worked to expand opportunities for student-athletes, and always keeps their interests in mind,” Roberts said. “As an instructor for the Coaches Advancement Program, and through his various leadership positions with the MIAAA, he continues to pass on this proper perspective for school sports to his colleagues in the field.”

Ryan is in his 17th year with Saginaw Township Community Schools and 24th total as an athletic director. He previously served for Alma from January 1992-March 1993 and Portland from April 1993 through August 1997 before moving on to Saginaw Heritage.

A member of the MHSAA Representative Council, Ryan was named Athletic Director of the year in 2008 by the MIAAA, which also named Heritage an Exemplary Athletic Program in 2003. Ryan was an Athletic Director of the Year finalist in 2009 for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association, and was named Midwest Athletic Director of the Year in 2010 by the National Association of Sport & Physical Education.

Ryan served on the MIAAA Executive Board from 2003-07 and as its president in 2006-07, and served as MIAAA president in 2005. He’s also served on the MHSAA’s Audit and Finance Committee and hosted more than 150 tournaments during his tenures as an athletic director. Ryan also has served as the Saginaw Valley League executive director since 1999. He remains a board member for the Dow Event Center Arena, Theater and First Merit Park Amphitheater, and on the sport and recreation committee for the Saginaw Chamber of Commerce. Ryan graduated from Iron Mountain High School and then with bachelor and master’s degrees from Central Michigan University.

“Pete Ryan’s leadership and influence in educational athletics have been commendable, and his expertise in a wide range of topics has made him someone we can turn to on a variety of subjects,” Roberts said. “I watched as he served effectively during the early years of his career, and have been thankful for his contributions as he’s continued on and served with our Representative Council.”

Rep Council Approves Sponsorship of New Sports, Adjusts Winter Schedule at Spring Meeting

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

May 9, 2024

The Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association took several actions during its Spring Meeting, May 5-6 in Gaylord, including approving the addition of boys volleyball and girls field hockey to the lineup of MHSAA-sponsored tournament sports beginning in 2025-26 and reorganizing the winter championship calendar to end one week earlier.

The Spring Meeting of the 19-member legislative body of the Association’s more than 1,500 member schools is generally the busiest of its sessions each year. The Council considered 28 committee proposals and dealt with a variety of eligibility rule, postseason tournament and operational issues.

After a yearlong conversation about emerging sports at MHSAA member schools, the Council approved a Volleyball Committee recommendation to begin sponsorship of boys volleyball with the 2025-26 school year. The Council also voted to begin sponsorship of girls field hockey beginning with 2025-26. Girls field hockey will be played during the Fall season, and boys volleyball during the Spring season, with the 2024-25 school year to serve as a development period as the MHSAA works with the current governing organizations for those sports. These will be the first sports added to the MHSAA’s tournament offerings since girls and boys lacrosse joined the lineup during the 2004-05 school year.

Changes to the MHSAA Winter Calendar will take effect in 2025-26 and include several adjustments to Finals schedules and practice starts that overall will lead to the winter sports season ending one week earlier – reflecting a fall survey that showed nearly 80 percent of MHSAA member schools felt the winter should be shortened. The reshaped winter sports calendar also completes competition before schools begin their spring breaks – which are being scheduled earlier than in the past – and places championships on dates that avoid potential facility conflicts.

Beginning with 2025-26, the last weekend in February will include the Team Wrestling, Bowling and Competitive Cheer Finals (with Skiing Finals remaining on the Monday of that week). The first weekend in March will include the Individual Wrestling, Boys Ice Hockey and Girls Gymnastics Finals. The Boys Basketball Finals will move to the second weekend of March with the Lower Peninsula Boys Swimming & Diving Finals, and the Girls Basketball Finals will permanently conclude the winter season during the third weekend of March. The Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving Finals will remain in mid-February. With basketball seasons ending earlier, basketball practices will be able to begin five days earlier (on a Wednesday) to keep tryouts/first practice dates from falling during Thanksgiving week.

More changes to MHSAA Tournament competition will begin in 2024-25. The Council voted to add a team championship for girls wrestling to be awarded to the school with the most success in the girls bracket of the Individual Finals. A girls individual bracket was added for the 2021-22 season, and the team championship will be awarded based on individual finishes similarly to how boys team championships were awarded before the dual format Finals were created with the 1987-88 season. Also for 2024-25, the Council approved Basketball and Soccer Committee recommendations to seed the entire District tournaments in those sports using Michigan Power Ratings (MPR) data, which previously was used to seed only the top two teams in each bracket for girls and boys basketball and girls and boys soccer.

The Council also approved a classification change in football intended to protect the state’s smallest schools sponsoring the 11-player format. Continuing a conversation from its Winter Meeting in March, the Council approved a Football Committee recommendation to cap the enrollment of Division 8 schools at 250 students, and then divide the rest of the 11-player schools evenly to determine the enrollment lines for the other seven divisions. As more small schools have switched to 8-player, larger schools have shifted into Division 8 for 11-player – and this change guarantees Division 8 schools will play only similarly-small schools during the postseason, taking effect with the 2025-26 school year.

To continue supporting schools providing teams at multiple levels despite low participation, the Council voted to allow athletes in two more sports to compete on teams at two levels on the same day. The Council approved a Bowling Committee recommendation allowing bowlers to participate in subvarsity and varsity competition on the same day, provided the events are separate – bowlers may still be listed on only one match roster and bowl for one team during each event – and also approved a Girls Lacrosse Committee recommendation to allow athletes to play in no more than five quarters in one day, with overtime an extension of the fourth quarter. At multi-team girls lacrosse tournaments where both school teams are playing, an athlete would be allowed to play in as many halves or quarters as what the school’s highest team level that day is playing.

The Council bolstered the penalty for inappropriate behavior toward game officials, approving an Officials Review Committee recommendation modifying the penalty for any coach or athlete who is ejected for spitting at, hitting, slapping, kicking, pushing or intentionally and/or aggressively physically contacting a game official at any time during that competition or after being ejected. The offending coach or athlete shall be suspended from competition for the next 14 calendar days and must complete an online sportsmanship course. The offending coach also will not be eligible to coach in the MHSAA Tournament for that sport during that season, nor be allowed to be present at the site or within sight, sound or communication of a tournament event for that team.

Here is a summary of other notable actions taken by the Representative Council at the Spring Meeting, which will take effect during the 2024-25 school year unless noted:


• The Council approved a change to the athletic-related transfer (link) rule stating that an athlete is ineligible in all sports participated in during the current or previous school year if that student has transferred to a school where a coach is employed who previously was a school employee or third-party contractor at the athlete’s former school. This change of language bolsters the regulation to include links to a coach at the new school who previously was employed in any way by the previous school.

• The Council approved a change to the football practice and competition rule to state that a school may not take part in an interscholastic scrimmage with another school until the Wednesday of the second week of practice and only if the team has conducted football practice on at least seven separate previous days. A joint practice with another school is considered a scrimmage and may not take place until those seven days of practice have been completed.  

Sports Medicine

• The Council approved a Sports Medicine Advisory Committee recommendation to require high schools to attest by each season’s established deadline that their high school sports coaches have emergency action plans specific to location which are posted, dispersed, rehearsed, discussed and documented within their practice plans.

• The Council also approved a Committee recommendation requiring MHSAA Tournament host sites to have an AED (automated external defibrillator) within visible distance of the event.


• The Council approved an Officials Review Committee recommendation requiring a set minimum number of officials required to work an event, designated by sport and level (varsity or subvarsity).

Sport Matters

BASEBALL: The Council approved a Baseball Committee recommendation requiring varsity teams to submit their pitch count information electronically by noon the day following every game(s).

BOWLING: The Council approved a Bowling Committee recommendation allowing for Regionals – Team and Singles – to be competed on consecutive days between Wednesday and Saturday of that week to increase the possibility of more bowling centers being able to host. Previously Regionals could be bowled only on Fridays and Saturdays.

COMPETITIVE CHEER: The Council approved three Competitive Cheer Committee recommendations related to stunting while also prioritizing safety. In a braced suspended forward roll pyramid, the flyer and at least one bracer will be required to have a hand-to-hand/arm connection, with one or both hands/arms of the bracer connected to one hand/arm/foot of the flyer, and with this maneuver performed only to a cradle position or in a forward suspended role without twists.

Another change will allow a backward suspended roll when it originates from the cheering surface as long as both hands of the flyer maintain continuous hand-to-hand or hand-to-arm contact with the original bases or back spot.

A third change allows during an inversion the temporary loss of contact with the flyer while transitioning to a double-based sponge with both feet of the flyer in the hands of the bases, or to a cradle or shoulder-level or below stunt.

GOLF: The Council approved a Golf Committee recommendation to form a Golf Site Selection Committee to review Regional tournament groupings and determine host schools and courses.

SOCCER: The Council approved another Soccer Committee proposal to institute a running clock during the first half of matches when the goal differential is eight or more.

SWIMMING & DIVING: The Council approved a Swimming & Diving Committee recommendation requiring all times entered for MHSAA Finals for both individual and relay swim events to be the times that are the fastest achieved in varsity competition during the current season and electronically verifiable on SwimCloud.com.

TENNIS: The Council approved a Tennis Committee recommendation requiring the MHSAA to reduce the number of Regional tournaments for a season from eight to six if the number of teams participating that season is fewer than 288.

TRACK & FIELD: The Council approved a Cross Country/Track & Field Committee recommendation allowing for athletes to qualify for MHSAA Finals by reaching predetermined standards during a window beginning April 1 of that season and extending until that athlete’s Regional meet.

WRESTLING: The Council approved a Wrestling Committee recommendation to amend the penalty for a team when a wrestler competes at an ineligible weight class during a dual event. If the ineligible wrestler is discovered during the involved match, that wrestler forfeits that match and the opposing team will be awarded six team points, plus the head coach of the team with the ineligible wrestler will be assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty resulting in a one-point team score deduction. If the ineligible wrestler is discovered after the involved match, any points earned by the offending wrestler are removed from the team score, along with the point for unsportsmanlike conduct, and six points are added to the offended team’s total. In both instances, neither wrestler involved in the match in question may compete again in that dual. If the ineligible wrestler is discovered after the dual is completed, the teams have left the mat area and the scorebook has been signed by the official, the results and team score will stand.

The Council also reviewed reports on membership, with 754 senior high schools and 774 junior high/middle schools in 2023-24 plus 60 elementary schools with 6th-grader participation; cooperative programs, with 392 high school programs for 720 teams during 2023-24; eligibility advancement applications, which totaled one; the use of Educational Transfer Forms, of which there were 128; school violations, attendance at athletic director in-service workshops and Coaches Advancement Program sessions; officials’ registrations (which were up 4.8 percent from 2022-23), rules meetings attendance, and officials reports submitted for the past three sports seasons. The Association’s $14.8 million budget for the 2024-25 school year also was approved.

The Representative Council is the 19-member legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.