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.”

2023 Forsythe Award Celebrates Leinaar's 40 Years Dedicated to School Sports

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 8, 2023

Few people in Michigan have had a longer-lasting influence on the rules and policies of educational athletics than Frankfort’s Karen Leinaar, who has served in several roles locally, statewide and nationally over more than 40 years contributing to the school sports community.

Thank you, Bill Baker.

The longtime teacher, coach, principal and superintendent during a career that stretched across multiple schools – including Leinaar’s growing up, Delton Kellogg – made an impression on the standout multi-sport athlete before she graduated from high school in 1977. Baker’s philosophy and work led Leinaar to study education at Michigan State University and then brought her back as Delton’s athletic director to begin four decades of making the same impact on children in her hometown and eventually in hometowns all over Michigan and beyond.

Baker died in 2009, but not before continuing to mentor Leinaar through many good times and tough ones.

“The man had two daughters that I grew up with, his wife was a teacher, and he demonstrated to all of us – he never missed an event – that we were important to him. That even though we weren’t his kids, we were his kids and athletics was a way to help kids become better people – and for some kids it was the only thing that they had positive in their life,” Leinaar said. “And he made it known just to that individual kid how important their participation was and their involvement, and how that helped them become the person that they were.

“That to me was such an example of how to help people be good people, that I just took that role on.”

It’s a role in which she continues to serve. Leinaar began her career as an athletic administrator in 1982, and as the interim athletic director currently at Frankfort High School is serving her fifth district in that position. Since June 2019, she also has served as executive director of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), the professional organization for school sports administrators in the state with a membership of nearly 700.

Leinaar accepts the MHSAA's Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998. To recognize that longtime and continuing impact, Leinaar has been named the 2023 honoree for the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Charles E. Forsythe Award.

The annual award is in its 46th year and named after former MHSAA Executive Director Charles E. Forsythe, the Association's first full-time and longest-serving chief executive. Forsythe Award recipients are selected each year by the MHSAA Representative Council, based on an individual's outstanding contributions to the interscholastic athletics community.

Leinaar also served 22 years on the MHSAA’s Representative Council and a four-year term from 2009-13 on the Board of Directors for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and just last week was named to the 2023 class of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Hall of Fame.

“It is impossible even to estimate the number of students, coaches, administrators and others who have been affected by the work Karen Leinaar has done to make school sports the best they can be – not only in her communities, but across Michigan and throughout the country,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “There are few who have equaled her dedication and her support and promotion of the ideals of school-based sports. She has always placed an emphasis on being in the room, on the field or at the arena, actively participating in her leadership roles, and our programs are better for it.”

Leinaar first served as athletic director at Delton Kellogg for nearly 17 years, from March 1982 through October 1998. She spent three years at Gaylord, then 8½ at Benzie Central before taking over at Bear Lake in November 2010 and spending the next decade organizing athletic programs for students in grades 5-12 before retiring in January 2021. She came out of retirement to return to the athletic director’s chair this past fall as interim AD at Frankfort. She has completed nearly four years as MIAAA executive director, moving into that position after previously serving nine years as an assistant to the executive.

Leinaar began her service on the Representative Council in Fall 1999 and completed her last term as a statewide at-large representative at the Fall 2021 meeting.

She has been honored several times for her contributions. She received the MHSAA’s Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998, a Citation from the NFHS in 2000, and she was named MIAAA Athletic Director of the Year in 2001. She received an MHSAA’s Allen W. Bush Award in 2014 – recognition given for work done generally behind the scenes and with little attention.

“This is the top of the mountain, per se. This one does mean so much,” Leinaar said of the Forsythe Award. “The names that are associated with this over the years, I never thought I’d be put in that group.”

Leinaar remains a continuous source of support at a multitude of MHSAA championship events, and during her time on Council was one of the most frequent representatives handing out trophies and medals to champions and runners-up at Finals events. She began while athletic director at Delton Kellogg hosting the MHSAA Volleyball Finals in Class B and Class C and continues to assist with those championships now played at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.

She also hosted Competitive Cheer Finals at Delton Kellogg in 1996 and 1997, Ski Finals while at Gaylord, and many more championship events across the Lower Peninsula. She continues to assist at the MHSAA’s Lower Peninsula Cross Country and Track & Field Finals.

After attending Delton Kellogg High School, Leinaar earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education, health and recreation, with a minor in driver education, from MSU in 1982. She completed a master’s in athletic administration from Western Michigan University in 1994.

Leinaar has been a member for 40 years of both the MIAAA and NIAAA, and has served as chairperson of the MIAAA Annual Conference and awards chairperson for both the state and national bodies. She’s also served as chairperson of the MIAAA’s Exemplary Athletic Program.

Past recipients of the Charles E. Forsythe Award 

1978 - Brick Fowler, Port Huron; Paul Smarks, Warren 
1979 - Earl Messner, Reed City; Howard Beatty, Saginaw 
1980 - Max Carey, Freesoil 
1981 - Steven Sluka, Grand Haven; Samuel Madden, Detroit
1982 - Ernest Buckholz, Mt. Clemens; T. Arthur Treloar, Petoskey
1983 - Leroy Dues, Detroit; Richard Maher, Sturgis 
1984 - William Hart, Marquette; Donald Stamats, Caro
1985 - John Cotton, Farmington; Robert James, Warren 
1986 - William Robinson, Detroit; Irving Soderland, Norway 
1987 - Jack Streidl, Plainwell; Wayne Hellenga, Decatur 
1988 - Jack Johnson, Dearborn; Alan Williams, North Adams
1989 - Walter Bazylewicz, Berkley; Dennis Kiley, Jackson 
1990 - Webster Morrison, Pickford; Herbert Quade, Benton Harbor 
1991 - Clifford Buckmaster, Petoskey; Donald Domke, Northville 
1992 - William Maskill, Kalamazoo; Thomas G. McShannock, Muskegon 
1993 - Roy A. Allen Jr., Detroit; John Duncan, Cedarville 
1994 - Kermit Ambrose, Royal Oak 
1995 - Bob Perry, Lowell 
1996 - Charles H. Jones, Royal Oak 
1997 - Michael A. Foster, Richland; Robert G. Grimes, Battle Creek 
1998 - Lofton C. Greene, River Rouge; Joseph J. Todey, Essexville 
1999 - Bernie Larson, Battle Creek 
2000 - Blake Hagman, Kalamazoo; Jerry Cvengros, Escanaba 
2001 - Norm Johnson, Bangor; George Lovich, Canton 
2002 - John Fundukian, Novi 
2003 - Ken Semelsberger, Port Huron
2004 - Marco Marcet, Frankenmuth
2005 - Jim Feldkamp, Troy
2006 - Dan McShannock, Midland; Dail Prucka, Monroe
2007 - Keith Eldred, Williamston; Tom Hickman, Spring Lake
2008 - Jamie Gent, Haslett; William Newkirk, Sanford Meridian
2009 - Paul Ellinger, Cheboygan
2010 - Rudy Godefroidt, Hemlock; Mike Boyd, Waterford
2011 - Eric C. Federico, Trenton
2012 - Bill Mick, Midland
2013 - Jim Gilmore, Tecumseh; Dave Hutton, Grandville
2014 - Dan Flynn, Escanaba

2015 - Hugh Matson, Saginaw
2016 - Gary Hice, Petoskey; Gina Mazzolini, Lansing
2017 - Chuck Nurek, Rochester Hills
2018 - Gary Ellis, Allegan
2019 - Jim Derocher, Negaunee; Fredrick J. Smith, Stevensville
2020 - Michael Garvey, Lawton
2021 - Leroy Hackley Jr., Byron Center; Patti Tibaldi, Traverse City
2022 - Bruce Horsch, Houghton

PHOTOS (Top) Karen Leinaar, left, awards the 2022 Division 4 volleyball finalist trophy to Indian River Inland Lakes coach Nicole Moore. (Middle) Leinaar accepts the MHSAA's Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998.