Inglis Finds Next Home at MHSAA

December 4, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The theme chosen by Portage Northern’s student section for its hockey Regional Final in 1989 was “Kings of the Ice,” and as such they wore Burger King crowns as a sign of the royalty their classmates soon would earn.  

Just before team captain Cody Inglis accepted the championship trophy, he skated to his friends and was anointed as well as one placed a crown upon his head.

Golden cardboard and all, Inglis received his team’s prize and circled the ice.

Inglis returned home that night eager to discuss the highlights with his dad Bill, a former professional player and one-time coach of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. But there was only one thing Bill had to say – and it’s a principle that’s continued to guide Cody throughout his career in high school athletics.

“I was really looking for his input and congratulations, and he looked at me and said very succinctly, ‘There’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. And you chose the wrong way,’” Inglis remembered this week. “At the time, I couldn’t see it with the perspective of a 17-year-old kid. But now I look back on it as the most valuable life lesson I’ve ever gotten.

“I knew he was proud of me. But the lesson he was trying to impart on me was doing things the right way is much more important than winning.”

Inglis has been doing things the right way for two decades while serving first at Suttons Bay and then Traverse City Central High School. He’ll bring a winning list of achievements and wealth of knowledge when he joins the Michigan High School Athletic Association staff as an assistant director in January.   

Inglis, 42, has served as athletic director and assistant principal at Traverse City Central since February 2008, taking over after 11 years as athletic director at Suttons Bay. He also has served as secretary for both the Big North and Northwest Conferences and for 13 years as the northern Lower Peninsula representative of 125 athletic directors for the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

Inglis will serve as the MHSAA’s director of ice hockey, girls and boys cross country, girls and boys golf, and girls and boys bowling. In addition, he will assist in the direction of girls and boys skiing and girls and boys track and field, and be in charge of the junior high and middle school committee. Inglis also will assist with the administration of the MHSAA’s Coaches Advancement Program and provide his expertise as an instructor.

“We had more than 100 candidates, including a half dozen of the finest ADs in America – not just Michigan. They couldn’t be any better,” MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said. “Cody’s selection was based in part on his being just a slightly better fit to the job description we had in mind.

“He’s had to do some tough things as an administrator. But he’s got a personality that causes people to rally around him.”

On the move

Inglis’ dad, Bill, spent 50 years in pro hockey, most of his final 20 as general manager of the Kalamazoo K-Wings, and Cody grew up in lockerrooms around future pros like Ron Hextall, Dirk Graham and Marty Turco. When the Toledo Goaldiggers won the IHL’s Turner Cup when Cody was in sixth grade, he got to carry the cup through downtown. The family moved 17 times, and prior to the stop in Kalamazoo, Cody had never lived anywhere longer than 2½ years.

Inglis graduated from Portage Northern High School in 1989 and went on to Hope College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and his teaching certification. He also was the captain of Hope’s 1992 men’s cross country team and captain of the men’s track & field team in both 1992 and 1993, and earned academic All-America honors for cross country.

Given his ties to pro hockey, Inglis might have had an opportunity to follow his dad. But it wasn’t for him. After graduating from Hope, Inglis enrolled at Western Michigan University to study sports management. He went to class for one day and withdrew – his heart just wasn’t into it.

Instead, Inglis hooked up with his Portage Northern cross country coach Bill Fries and found what he did want to do – coach, and in doing so, teach athletics.

The rest is northern Lower Peninsula history.

Inglis hooked on at Suttons Bay as a 23-year physical education teacher and head cross country and track & field coach, and two years later took over the athletic department.

“I was thrown into the fire right away, but I had a desire to be in sports somehow and coaching was a passion of mine,” Inglis said. “It was kinda sink or swim. I realized the craziness and hecticness of it, but it was something I embraced. I was lucky to have the opportunity to do it at Suttons Bay, to grow there and have people who were willing to let me make some mistakes, learn from my mistakes and become a better administrator.”

Inglis has supervised a group of more than 100 coaches while at Traverse City Central, plus a group of more than 20 teachers and staff as part of his assistant principal duties.

He’s managed more than 100 MHSAA Tournaments, including Ski Finals, Football Semifinals and Hockey Quarterfinals, and a variety of lower tournament levels for hockey, wrestling, track and field, cross country, basketball and golf.

His programs have achieved plentiful success under his leadership. Traverse City Central won the Big North Conference all-sport award every year from 2008-12 and earned six MHSAA Finals team championships during his tenure. The varsity programs have produced 34 academic all-state awards over the past three school years – including 14 in 2012-13 – and 62 percent of the student body was involved in athletics last school year.

While at Suttons Bay, Inglis led an athletic program that won the Northwest Conference sportsmanship trophy nine times and earned two MHSAA Finals championships. He also redeveloped athletic boosters programs, oversaw construction projects and was instrumental in the rewriting of athletic policies at both schools. 

He was recognized in the spring with the MHSAA’s Allen W. Bush Award, which recognizes those who serve in high school athletics but do not always receive attention for their contributions.

Mentor to follow

Inglis was instrumental in the creation and later served as an assistant coach for the Traverse City Bay Reps ice hockey team, a co-operative headed by Traverse City St. Francis High School that’s now been in existence 15 seasons. He also was named Division 4 Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2002 by the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association after leading his team to a runner-up finish at the MHSAA Finals. 

Inglis coached a string of girls cross country teams that made the top 10 at MHSAA Finals five straight seasons, plus 25 all-state athletes in cross country and track and field including three individual MHSAA champions.

He has been a member of seven MHSAA sport committees, including for ice hockey. He’s been a frequent presenter at the MIAAA’s annual conferences, covering topics including fundraising, budgeting, organizing successful tournaments, balancing multiple roles and responsibilities, leadership and technology. He’s also taught MIAAA Leadership Training Courses.

Of little surprise, Inglis has been greatly impacted by growing up following his dad. While mother Jeris was the rock of the family, Bill was Cody’s idol and made a significant impact on the manager Inglis has become.

“My dad was so good at the way he treated people. I just saw how he treated them, whether it was the Zamboni drive or an assistant or secretary, he treated them with so much respect,” Inglis said. “That’s the part I’ve really taken from him, how he treated people and the relationships he made. How you treat people in athletics is so key; they’ll treat you the same way back, I’ve found most of the time.”

Inglis received minor degrees at Hope in business administration and communications, and has completed a number of courses toward a master’s in athletic administration from Ohio University.

He is married to Carrie (Ham) Inglis, an MHSAA Finals cross country individual champion for Big Rapids in 1987. They have three sons.  

PHOTO: (Top) Traverse City Central athletic director Cody Inglis converses with a member of his staff Tuesday. (Middle) Inglis shares a laugh with an official before Tuesday's girls basketball games. (Photos courtesy of Rick Sack.)

Rep Council Adjusts, Expands Out-of-State Competition Opportunities at Spring Meeting

By Geoff Kimmerly 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.

Sports Medicine

• 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).

Sport Matters

• 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.