MHSAA Remembers Late Director Bush

September 11, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Allen W. Bush was a military man and had a military way about him. 

And those traits no doubt were invaluable as the former U.S. Marine became a respected national voice during arguably the most transformative era in high school athletics. 

Bush, who served as Executive Director the Michigan High School Athletic Association from the fall of 1968 through the summer of 1978, died Monday in Traverse City. He was 90.

Bush oversaw some of the most significant developments in MHSAA history, chiefly the addition of girls sports – MHSAA tournaments existed for nine girls sports when he retired – plus the addition of football playoffs in 1975 and MHSAA tournaments in baseball, ice hockey and skiing.

“He led the MHSAA during simultaneously one of the most stressful and most exciting times as schools responded to federal legislation promoting opportunities for minorities and females,” current MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said. “Al Bush was among leaders who saw the opportunities instead of burdens of those laws.” 

He began his tenure at the MHSAA on March 1, 1960, as Assistant State Director of Athletics to Executive Director Charles E. Forsythe. Bush’s designation changed to Associate Director in 1963, and on July 10, 1968 he was appointed to replace the retiring Forsythe as leader of the association.

An award bearing Bush’s name is bestowed by the MHSAA each spring to an administrator, coach, official, trainer, doctor, or member of the media who has at least 15 years of experience in Michigan interscholastic athletics with unusually frequent and significant contributions to the MHSAA.

Prior to joining the MHSAA, Bush taught mathematics, coached four sports and served as athletic director at different times during tenures at Battle Creek Central, Kalamazoo University, Dearborn and Bay City Handy high schools. Bush was a graduate of Kalamazoo University and later earned multiple bachelor’s degrees from Western Michigan University and a master’s in school administration from the University of Michigan. He was captain of the football team at WMU and received its Most Valuable Player and Athletic-Scholarship awards as a senior, and later was named Man of the Year in 1975 by WMU’s Alumni W Club.

Bush also studied at Princeton University and the University of Arizona and served six years of active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and the Korean War. He was discharged with a rank of first lieutenant.

While at the MHSAA, Bush was a frequent contributor to the National Federation of State High School Associations. He served as chairperson of the committee that wrote the NFHS’s first swimming and diving rule book and also was a representative to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City.

A summation written by late MHSAA historian Dick Kishpaugh during 1978 said the following of Bush's service to member schools:

"Through all of these varied and complex changes, the MHSAA has met its commitment to a high standard of excellence," Kishpaugh wrote. 

"Al Bush is fallible, as we all are, but he needs to make no apologies. The accomplishments speak for themselves."

94 Schools Raise Trophies as Part of 2023-24 MHSAA Parade of Champions

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

June 19, 2024

A total of 94 schools won one or more of the 129 Michigan High School Athletic Association team championships awarded during the 2023-24 school sports year, with three teams earning the first Finals championship in any sport in their schools’ histories.

Southfield Arts & Technology celebrated its first MHSAA Finals team championship during the fall, winning the 11-player Division 1 football title. Evart and Watervliet closed this spring by celebrating their first Finals victories, Evart as champion in Division 3 softball and Watervliet as champion in Division 4 baseball.

A total of 25 schools won two or more championships this school year, paced by Marquette’s six won in girls and boys cross country, girls and boys swimming & diving, boys golf and boys track & field. Detroit Catholic Central was next with four Finals championships, and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, Farmington Hills Mercy, Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Jackson Lumen Christi all won three. Winning two titles in 2023-24 were Ann Arbor Greenhills, Ann Arbor Pioneer, Bark River-Harris, Clarkston Everest Collegiate, Detroit Country Day, Escanaba, Flint Kearsley, Fowler, Grand Rapids Christian, Hancock, Hudson, Hudsonville Unity Christian, Ishpeming, Negaunee, Northville, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Rochester Adams, Traverse City Christian and Traverse City St. Francis.

A total of 25 teams won first MHSAA titles in their respective sports. A total of 47 champions were repeat winners from 2022-23. A total of 22 teams won championships for at least the third-straight season, while 11 teams extended title streaks to at least four consecutive seasons. The Lowell wrestling program owns the longest title streak at 11 seasons. 

Sixteen of the MHSAA's 28 team championship tournaments are unified, involving teams from the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, while separate competition to determine title winners in both Peninsulas is conducted in remaining sports.

For a sport-by-sport listing of MHSAA champions for 2023-24, click here (PDF).

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.