Four Selected for MHSAA Bush Awards

June 14, 2012

Four athletic administrators who additionally have made significant contributions at the league, state and MHSAA tournament levels – Robin Dilday of Utica, Robert Dowd of Troy, Curt Ellis of Saline and Greg Lattig of Mason – have been named the recipients of the Michigan High School Athletic Association's Allen W. Bush Award for 2012.

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 21st year of the award, with the selections being made by the MHSAA's Representative Council.

Dilday has been a leader not only in his home school district of Utica, but as a voice throughout Macomb Country. A graduate of Utica High School, Dilday has worked in education 38 years and for Utica Community Schools for the last 28, including the past 18 as District Athletic Director.

He’s taken a leadership role in numerous projects starting with the expansion of athletic program offerings and the development of a coaches handbook and student-athlete code of conduct for his schools. He’s also worked at the forefront of efforts to construct gymnasiums, stadiums and other athletic venues, hosted various MHSAA tournaments and served on several MHSAA committees.

Dilday is in his 18th year as president of the Macomb County Athletic Directors Association and also works with the Macomb County Special Olympics and as community fundraising chair for his district’s middle school sports programs. He was named to the Utica High School Hall of Fame in 2011. Dilday earned his bachelor’s degree in radio and television communications from Michigan State, received teaching certification in social studies from Central Michigan University and then his master’s degree in educational leadership from Wayne State University.

“Robin Dilday has provided stable leadership through the changes and challenges high school athletics have faced during his nearly four decades of service,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA. “He has experienced high school athletics from a variety of perspectives – athlete, coach and administrator – and worked to provide the best for those in every position. He has done so while managing multiple schools in a large district. We are pleased to honor Robin Dilday with the Bush Award.”

Dowd might be known best in Oakland County for his contributions to lacrosse dating back more than two decades. But as an assistant principal and the athletic director at Troy Athens High School the past 16 years, Dowd also has hosted MHSAA Finals in five sports and a variety of tournaments at the District, Regional and Semifinal levels.

He served as president of the Michigan Scholastic Lacrosse Association from 1990-94 and then as executive director from 1996-2004. Dowd was named the Michigan High School Lacrosse Coaches Association Man of the Year in 2006 and was selected for the MHSLCA Hall of Fame in 2011.

Dowd has served on the MHSAA’s lacrosse committee, as well as those for soccer officials, gymnastics, tennis and hockey. He’s the committee chair for the Oakland Activities Association boys and girls lacrosse committee and previously served as chair of the football and soccer committees. He was named Oakland County Athletic Director of the Year in 2009. Dowd earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary social studies and a master’s in history from the State University of New York at Cortland. He also earned a master’s in K-12 administration from Michigan State University.

“Robert Dowd’s contributions – particularly as a Finals host – have been invaluable to the MHSAA,” Roberts said. “He is a passionate supporter of high school athletics. That is evident in how he is always a reliable source both of input and assistance. All make him a worthy recipient of the Bush Award.”

Ellis served as an athletic administrator in Michigan for 16 years, including the last eight at Novi High School before leaving the district in the fall to become Executive Director of Human Resources for Saline Area Schools. His Novi athletic program was a recipient of the Exemplary Athletic Program Award from the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

He’s served as a tournament manager for multiple MHSAA ice hockey and soccer Finals over the last decade and for more than 125 District and Regional tournaments since 1997. He’s also served on the ice hockey, volleyball, officials and site selection committees, among others.

Additionally, Ellis has served in various leadership roles statewide. He was president of the Oakland County Athletic Administrators Association in 2002-03 and joined the MIAAA executive board in 2008. He was named OCAAA Athletic Director of the Year in 2007 and MIAAA Region 11 Athletic Director of the Year in 2007, and is a regular speaker at the MIAAA’s Mid-Winter Conference. Ellis earned his bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from Eastern Michigan University and is pursuing his master’s in educational leadership also at EMU.

“Curt Ellis has been a consistent source of leadership and a true advocate of high school athletics,” Roberts said. “He has brought great perspective to those working with him both locally and through the MIAAA, and been of great assistance in his work as an MHSAA tournament host. We’re pleased to honor him with the Bush Award.”

Lattig has served four school districts – Mason, Eaton Rapids, Leslie and Lansing Christian – as a coach or administrator. Also a host of numerous MHSAA tournaments and member of various committees, Lattig twice served as president of the Capital Area Activities Conference and previously was secretary of the Capital Circuit league.

A Certified Master Athletic Administrator, Lattig also has served on various MIAAA committees —including as co-chair of the scholarship committee – and as a regional representative to that body. He has guided the athletic department at Mason the last four years after nine at Eaton Rapids. He coached varsity track at Leslie and middle school basketball at Lansing Christian.

Lattig earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management and communications from the University of Michigan and his master’s in athletic administration from Michigan State University.

“Greg Lattig has provided a significant voice during the evolution of the Capital Area Activities Conference over the last decade, and is a helpful source of input both to the MIAAA and MHSAA,” Roberts said. “His understanding of the complex lives of students and desire to help them achieve are admirable traits that make him an excellent choice for the Bush Award.” 

MHSAA Winter Sports Underway with 65,000 Athletes Beginning Competition

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

December 5, 2023

With the first girls basketball games, wrestling matches and ski races joining the event schedule this week, an estimated 65,000 athletes will be competing across the 13 sports for which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments.

Girls basketball tipped off Monday, Dec. 4, and the first boys and girls wrestling meets may take place Wednesday, Dec. 6. The first girls and boys ski races may begin Saturday, Dec. 9, when they will join competition already underway in boys basketball, girls and boys bowling, girls competitive cheer, girls gymnastics, boys ice hockey, Upper Peninsula girls swimming & diving, and boys swimming & diving across both peninsulas.

The MHSAA winter schedule concludes this 2023-24 school year with the Girls Basketball Finals on March 23. This will be the first time since 2018-19 that the girls basketball tournament will finish the winter season, a switch made necessary by the start of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament March 22-23 and the possibility Michigan State University could host first-round games at the Breslin Center, where the MHSAA plays both its girls and boys basketball Semifinals and Finals.

Three more sports will incorporate changes this season related to MHSAA Tournament format or qualification.

For girls and boys bowling, Regionals will be conducted at eight sites – instead of the previous six – with each site qualifying to Finals its top two team finishers and the top seven singles for both girls and boys competitions. For the Team Bowling Finals, match play has been switched to a head-to-head, best-of-five Baker game format, whereas previously the format included regular games rolled by individual bowlers.

In girls gymnastics, an addition to criteria is expected to classify gymnasts more accurately as Division 1 (most skilled/experienced) or Division 2 for MHSAA Tournament individual competition. Athletes who have previously competed in a non-school event at either the Sapphire or Diamond Xcel levels would be required to compete at the Division 1 level for MHSAA postseason competition. These designations were added to other criteria used to determine an individual competitor’s division.

A change that led to much larger event fields at the Lower Peninsula Girls Swimming & Diving Finals this fall is expected to produce the same at the LP Boys Swimming & Diving Finals this winter. Beginning this season, qualifying times have been determined based on the past five years of MHSAA race data, but also accounting for past numbers of qualifiers in each swim race – which should, as with the girls, allow for more boys to advance to the Finals in events where fields have not been full over the previous five seasons.

Additionally, the Competitive Cheer Finals will return to its traditional Friday-Saturday schedule, March 1-2 at McGuirk Arena at Central Michigan University, with Division 1 on Friday and Divisions 2-4 on Saturday.

This regular season, wrestlers have two more opportunities to compete. Teams are allowed two more dual meets (between two teams only, not to be converted into three or four-team meets), bringing the total allowed days of competition to 16 with no more than eight of those allowed for tournament-type events where a wrestler competes more than twice.

At those tournament-type events, wrestlers may now compete in up to six matches on one day of competition (as opposed to the previous five matches per day) – but an athlete may not wrestle in more than 10 matches over two consecutive days.

An adjustment to the awarding of free throws in basketball is likely to be the most noticeable in-game change for any winter sport this season. One-and-one free throws have been eliminated, and fouls no longer will be totaled per half. Instead, fouls are totaled and reset every quarter, and two free throws are awarded with the fifth foul of each quarter.

The 2023-24 Winter campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving Finals on Feb. 17 and wraps up with the Girls Basketball Finals on March 23. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Boys Basketball
Districts – Feb. 26, 28, March 1
Regionals – March 5, 7
Quarterfinals – March 12
Semifinals – March 14-15
Finals – March 16

Girls Basketball
Districts – March 4, 6, 8
Regionals – March 11, 13
Quarterfinals – March 19
Semifinals – March 21-22
Finals – March 23

Regionals – Feb. 23-24
Finals – March 1-2

Competitive Cheer
Districts – Feb. 16-17
Regionals – Feb. 24
Finals – March 1-2

Regionals – March 2
Finals – March 8-9

Ice Hockey
Regionals – Feb. 19-28
Quarterfinals – March 2
Semifinals – March 7-8
Finals – March 9

Regionals – Feb. 12-16
Finals – Feb. 26

Swimming & Diving
Upper Peninsula Girls/Boys Finals – Feb. 17
Lower Peninsula Boys Diving Regionals – Feb. 29
Lower Peninsula Boys Finals – March 8-9

Wrestling – Team
Districts – Feb. 7-8
Regionals – Feb. 14
Finals – Feb. 23-24

Wrestling – Individual
Districts – Feb. 10
Boys Regionals – Feb. 17
Girls Regionals – Feb. 18
Finals – March 1-2

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.