Honoree Leads from Behind the Scenes
January 28, 2014
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Off to the side somewhere, where athletic directors generally reside, Teri Reyburn often enjoys her favorite part of leading DeWitt’s athletic department – watching her school’s athletes shine.
As head of one of the Lansing area’s most successful programs, she has celebrated more often than not. But while her contributions to those successes usually fall outside of fanfare, they hardly go unappreciated by those who understand the inner workings of high school sports.
Reyburn's faithful support of her school and continuous service to Michigan High School Athletic Association programs will be celebrated Sunday, when she receives the MHSAA’s 27th Women In Sports Leadership Award during the WISL banquet at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West.
In addition to heading a department since 1999 that annually produces winning teams, Reyburn was a key voice in the creation and growth of the Capital Area Activities Conference a decade ago and has hosted more than 80 MHSAA tournaments at various levels in various sports.
“I absolutely love the kids. And I take a huge amount of pride in being able to put on and prepare an event, have hundreds or thousands walk in and sit down, enjoy themselves and walk out and leave not knowing the amount of work it took,” Reyburn said. “We have a large amount of volunteers who make that happen. I have some of the most amazing coaches, and the parents support their kids too. It doesn’t get any better than here, and I love what I do.”
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.
Both DeWitt’s girls and boys golf teams have won two MHSAA Finals championships apiece during her tenure. The football program has played in four Finals and both the boys basketball team and competitive cheer teams have finished MHSAA runners-up.
The Panthers girls basketball team has advanced to three MHSAA Semifinals, and the boys and girls soccer teams and baseball team have combined for five Semifinal appearances during her time guiding the program.
DeWitt has a strong athletic tradition going back decades. But there’s no question Reyburn has played her part well in continuing that legacy.
“DeWitt teams are always hard-working and always the model of good sportsmanship. Many people would assign the credit to the coaches for such behavior,” wrote Lansing Catholic athletic director Rich Kimball is recommending Reyburn for the WISL award. “Having been a coach, I know they deserve a lot of credit for how their teams perform and act, but without the leadership from the ‘boss’ those things don’t usually happen. Teri makes sure her program operates with class at all times.”
Her contributions to athletics off the field of play have been similarly significant, if also understated.
Since taking over the DeWitt program as interim athletic director in March 1999, and then fulltime that summer, Reyburn regularly has hosted five MHSAA tournaments per school year plus a total of more than 20 rules meetings and a number of clinics in coordination with statewide coaches and officials associations.
Reyburn, 59, also was among athletic directors who played a significant role in the formation of the CAAC, which combined schools from four leagues into one in 2003. She also was a leading voice in the formation of DeWitt High School’s Hall of Fame, which has inducted 35 athletes and nine teams since 2008.
Reyburn has spoken at WISL conferences on both the role of Title IX in high school athletics and “Tackling the Media Blitz” for young coaches and athletes. She has served on the WISL planning committee as well as on Scholar-Athlete Award, athletic equity, competitive cheer rules, site and officials selection committees.
“Teri Reyburn has provided nearly two decades of quiet, steady leadership in her school district and serves as a mentor for those who are following her in the athletic director role,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA. “She’s a role model for not just women, but anyone who aspires to a career in educational athletics. We’re pleased to honor her with the Women In Sports Leadership Award.”
Reyburn graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1972, the same year as the enactment of Title IX and the first MHSAA tournaments in girls sports. Her school offered three sports, and she played intramural volleyball and was a cheerleader. She also was a championship-caliber horseback rider during high school summers.
Soon after graduation, Reyburn married her high school sweetheart Kris (they will celebrate their 41st anniversary in November). Hers sons were born not long after – Mike, now a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army stationed in South Korea, and then D.J., who will begin his first fulltime season as a Major League Baseball umpire this spring.
Reyburn took college classes, worked as a study hall aide at Cedar Springs and later served on the Portland Public Schools board of education for 11 years before her family moved to DeWitt. She had intentions of earning a college degree, and discussed the possibility again after joining DeWitt schools a media specialist, middle school sports coordinator and assistant to the high school athletic director in 1994. But after five years in those roles, a sad circumstance led to her taking over the DeWitt program fulltime.
She was brought into athletics initially by previous director Jim Lutzke, who also worked in the human resources department and served as the Panthers boys basketball coach. He relied on Reyburn to coordinate middle school events and serve as a game manager for many at the high school.
Lutzke was diagnosed with cancer early in the 1998-99 school year, and Reyburn took on additional roles including game setup and equipment ordering. Lutzke died that March, and Reyburn and girls basketball coach Bill McCullen took over the high school athletic director duties on an interim basis. She was then hired as Lutzke’s successor for the following fall – and continues to employ lessons she learned under his mentoring.
“The biggest thing I got from Jim was just learning not to react quickly. To think, to understand a situation and know all of the facts before I do anything,” Reyburn said. “Jim was extremely good at that. He was even keel and level with everything he did.”
Reyburn also received plenty of tutelage and support from local athletic directors including longtime Haslett leader Jamie Gent, Williamston’s Jeff Lynch and then-Fowlerville athletic director Jack Wallace.
Now Reyburn is among those passing the knowledge forward. She’s one of the longest-serving athletic directors in the CAAC and was recognized as her region’s Athletic Director of the Year in 2006 by the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
“There are few, if any, athletic directors who are more capable, more organized or more in touch with high school sports than Teri,” Lansing Catholic’s Kimball also wrote. “Teri is the perfect person to win this award – passionate, smart, humorous, organized, but most of all an advocate for educational athletes.”
Past Women In Sports Leadership Award recipients
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
PHOTO: DeWitt athletic director Teri Reyburn walks the Ford Field sideline before the Panthers Division 3 Final against Zeeland West this fall. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
Rep Council Adjusts, Expands Out-of-State Competition Opportunities at Spring Meeting
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
May 12, 2023
Substantial changes to the rules governing out-of-state competition by Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools were among the most notable actions taken by the MHSAA’s Representative Council during its annual Spring Meeting, May 6-7 in Gaylord.
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 31 committee proposals and dealt with a variety of eligibility rule, postseason tournament and operational issues.
The most far-reaching changes approved by the Council shifts the MHSAA rules regarding competitions against out-of-state opponents. Moving forward, MHSAA member schools may continue to compete against teams from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario – but also may compete against teams from elsewhere in the United States as long as those competitions take place in Michigan, one of those five contiguous states or Ontario. The Council voted to remove the allowance for MHSAA member schools to travel up to 300 miles to play an out-of-state opponent; MHSAA member schools still can compete against those opponents, but competition must take place in Michigan or one of the states/province listed above. Any event including schools from outside of Michigan or those contiguous states/province must receive approval by the MHSAA and each state high school association with a team involved in order for MHSAA member schools to be allowed to participate.
In an effort to strengthen the undue influence regulation, the Council approved a change making it a violation for coaches or their representatives to connect via social media with students from another high school or with a student prior to ninth grade who has not yet enrolled in a high school or participated in an athletic practice or competition as a high school student. Violations of this rule include connecting via social media with a “follow,” “friend request” or “direct message” to a student. The Council also expanded the portion of the undue influence regulation that doesn’t allow coaches and representatives to visit prospective athletes and their families at the families’ homes to not allow them to visit athletes and families at “other locations” as well.
The Council approved an expansion in the use of video to determine penalties when there is a bench-clearing situation or other incident where team members enter the area of competition during an altercation. MHSAA staff, based on video evidence, will be allowed to assess additional penalties including ejections and suspensions to team members, coaches and other staff who enter those areas to participate or engage in such an altercation.
Concerning specific sports, changes to three stand out from several adopted by the Council.
The Council approved three Bowling Committee recommendations affecting postseason competition in that sport. The first reorganizes Regional competition to eight sites, with each qualifying the top two teams and top seven singles for both girls and boys competitions to the Finals (instead of the previous six sites qualifying three teams and 10 singles for both girls and boys). The Council also approved a proposal to change the Team Finals match play to a head-to-head, best-of-five Baker game format. Finally, the Council approved a proposal to adopt the Phantom II oil pattern for all MHSAA Tournament competitions.
In girls volleyball, the Council approved a Volleyball Committee recommendation to begin seeding the top two teams in each District beginning with the 2024-25 school year. As is done currently with girls and boys basketball and girls and boys soccer, the top-two seeded teams in each District will be placed on opposite sides of the bracket, guaranteeing they will not play each other before the District Final. Seeding will be determined using the Michigan Power Rating (MPR) formula which takes into account regular-season success and strength of schedule. MPR is used to seed Districts in the same way in basketball and soccer.
In wrestling, the Council approved a Wrestling Committee recommendation adding two regular-season dual meets to the allowed number of wrestling contest dates. These must be dual meets and may not be converted into three-team (tri) or four-team (quad) meets. Teams and individuals now will be allowed 16 days of competition with no more than eight of those days allowed for tournament-type events where a wrestler competes more than twice.
Here is a summary of other notable actions taken by the Representative Council at the Spring Meeting, which will take effect during the 2023-24 school year unless noted:
• The Council approved a classification-related change for the MHSAA’s smallest member schools, allowing them to request participation of eighth and seventh-grade students, based on the high school’s enrollment. Schools with fewer than 125 students (instead of the previous 100) may request an MHSAA Executive Committee waiver to use eighth-grade students in all sports except football, ice hockey and wrestling. Schools with fewer than 75 students (instead of the previous 50) may make the same request to use seventh and eighth-grade students in all sports except those three. Schools requesting a waiver must show cause and rationale for those students’ participation.
• The Council approved a Sports Medicine Advisory Committee proposal requiring middle school head coaches to have valid, current CPR certification. Similar to the high school requirements for head coaches at all levels, this addition at the middle school level will ensure each team has at least one coach at each level present who is CPR-certified. This requirement will take effect with the 2024-25 school year, and schools will attest to its completion by the established deadline for each season.
• The Council approved an Officials Review Committee recommendation adjusting the minimum requirements for postseason consideration in wrestling, competitive cheer and soccer. In wrestling, officials must receive 75 coaches ratings (instead of the previous 100) to be considered for working a postseason meet. In girls competitive cheer, judges must be members in good standing of a Local Approved Association. In soccer, officials must work a minimum of five regular-season games (down from the previous 10) to be considered for the postseason.
• The Council also approved a Committee recommendation increasing the amount paid when an official arrives on site prior to a competition before receiving notice that competition has been canceled due to an “act of God” including weather that results in unplayable conditions. In these situations, officials will receive one-half of the contract fee (instead of the previous one-third).
• For baseball, the Council approved a change to when trophies will be awarded to Regional champions. Those trophies will be presented to both Regional champions after the Quarterfinal is concluded, as Regional Finals and the ensuing Quarterfinal are played at the same site on the same day and both Quarterfinal participants will have earned a Regional championship earlier that day.
• In addition to the Regional and Finals changes for bowling explained above, the Council also approved a Bowling Committee proposal seeking common start dates for practice and competition for Lower and Upper Peninsula teams. For the 2023-24 season, bowling teams in both peninsulas will begin practice Nov. 9 and competition Nov. 25. Previously, Upper Peninsula teams were allowed to begin their seasons slightly earlier – this past season four days sooner for practice and a week earlier for competition than their Lower Peninsula counterparts.
• The Council also approved a start date change in girls competitive cheer, proposed by the Competitive Cheer Committee, moving the practice start date to the second Monday before Thanksgiving. This shortens the season by one week, but also allows a more comfortable gap between the fall sideline cheer and winter competitive cheer seasons. This change will take effect with the 2024-25 school year.
• Also in cheer, the Council approved a Committee recommendation that adjusts the restricted period at the end of competitive cheer season to the Monday following Memorial Day, which will allow athletes to try out for sideline cheerleading for the upcoming season after the completion of the majority of spring-sport competitions.
• Additionally, the Council approved an exception to the MHSAA’s all-star regulation that will allow for individual competitive cheer and sideline cheer athletes to participate in an event that is “all-star” in name only as long as the selection components of the event comply with MHSAA regulations.
• In cross country and track & field, the Council approved Cross Country/Track & Field Committee recommendations to eliminate a pair of uniform-related rules adaptations designating the types of head attire that previously could be worn during cross country races and body adornments that previously were allowed to be worn during competitions in both sports.
• In golf, the Council approved a Golf Committee recommendation to require athletes to participate in at least four competitions for the high school team prior to representing that athlete’s school team in an MHSAA postseason golf competition. Those four regular-season competitions may be 9 or 18-hold events.
• A Council action in gymnastics will better define how athletes are assigned a division for the individual portion of the MHSAA Finals. Athletes are assigned either Division 1 or Division 2 based on past experience and skill level – Division 1 for those with the most – and the Council approved the allowance of the Xcel levels of Sapphire and Diamond to be part of the determining criteria. Athletes who have previously competed in a non-school event at either of these levels would be required to compete in the Division 1 level for MHSAA postseason competition.
• In tennis, the Council approved a Tennis Committee recommendation allowing in the Lower Peninsula for a No. 1 doubles pair from a non-qualifying team to advance from Regional to Finals competition if that pair finishes first or second at the Regional and the No. 1 singles player from that team also has qualified for the Finals individually by finishing first or second in Regional play. (Upper Peninsula tennis does not play a Regional.)
• The Council approved a Swimming & Diving Committee recommendation restructuring how qualifying times for Finals are determined in an effort to provide more entries in swimming events at the championship level. Moving forward, qualifying times will be determined based on the past five years of MHSAA race data, but also will account for past numbers of qualifiers in each swim race; qualifying times will be shifted to allow for more athletes to advance to the Finals in events where fields have not been full over the previous five seasons.
• The second swimming & diving recommendation approved by the Council assigned specific breaks during Finals competitions. During Friday preliminaries (swam in the Lower Peninsula only), 10-minute breaks will be placed between the 200-yard medley relay and 200 freestyle races, and between the 200 freestyle relay and 100 backstroke, with a 15-minute break between the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. The same 10-minute breaks will be mandated for Saturday Finals competitions, with a 15-minute break during Finals coming between the conclusion of diving and 100 butterfly races.
• For girls volleyball, the Council also approved a Volleyball Committee recommendation to permit the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association (MIVCA) a 3-minute on-court presentation during the MHSAA Finals to recognize that season’s Miss Volleyball Award winner. The presentation will take place between the second and third sets of the Division 1 championship match.
Junior High/Middle School
• The Council voted to make permanent cross country and track & field competitions that have been conducted at a Regional level as part of a pilot program during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. The Council also voted to expand the number of sites per Junior High/Middle School Regional to allow for large-school (Divisions 1 and 2) and small-school (Divisions 3 and 4) meets for each of the eight Zones. Each participating junior high and middle school will be classified for its Regional meet based on the enrollment of the high school with which the junior high/middle school is connected.
The Council also reviewed reports on membership, with 750 senior high schools and 767 junior high/middle schools in 2022-22 plus 63 elementary schools with 6th-grader participation; cooperative programs, with 376 high school programs for 692 teams during 2023-23; eligibility advancement applications, which totaled three; the use of Educational Transfer Forms, of which there were 127; school violations, attendance at athletic director in-service workshops and Coaches Advancement Program sessions; officials’ registrations, rules meetings attendance and officials reports submitted for the past three sports seasons. The Association’s $13.3 million budget for the 2023-24 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 1.3 million spectators each year.