Jon Ross, bringing vast experience in video production and after working both as television media and in media relations, has been added to the Michigan High School Athletic Association staff as broadcast & media coordinator, a role in which he’ll focus primarily on video production, day-to-day efforts by the MHSAA Network and other communications duties.
Ross, who began at the MHSAA in late December, is taking on many of the duties formerly handled by John Johnson, who retired Dec. 18 after 33 years as communications director and then director of broadcast properties.
Ross’s variety of past experiences already have served the MHSAA well during his first weeks in his new position. In addition to generating “This Week in High School Sports” played on more than 100 radio stations statewide and the “MHSAA Minute” produced weekly with State Champs! Sports Network, Ross stepped in almost immediately to direct MHSAA Network broadcasts of Fall playoffs that were restarted in January and worked with FOX Sports Detroit for its production of the 8 and 11-Player Football Finals during Jan. 16 and Jan. 22-23, respectively.
“Jon has been a wonderful addition to our team,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “His background in video production will serve the MHSAA well, and he’s done an outstanding job jumping in mid-stream with our Final fall tournaments being completed in January followed by an immediate move to winter events. Jon is a terrific addition to the MHSAA team.”
Ross began his media career in June 1999 at the first of three television sports department stops, a string that concluded with his tenure as a reporter and anchor from 2002-05 for WILX in Lansing.
Most recently, Ross served from Feb. 2018 until this past December as a communications representative and senior editor for the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, for which he helped manage development of statewide campaigns including “Click It Or Ticket” and “Drive Sober, Get Pulled Over.” In addition to content creation, Ross worked in media relations including as occasional spokesperson for the OHSP, along with managing budgets and execution of federally-funded campaigns and serving as chairperson of the 2019 Michigan Traffic Safety Summit which drew nearly 500 attendees.
At the MHSAA, Ross’s responsibilities also will include providing content for the Association’s websites including the fan-focused Second Half, managing MHSAA.tv and eventually media credentialing and other on-site communications functions at MHSAA events.
“My time working in sports never seemed like work, and I’m excited for the opportunity to be part of what the MHSAA is building as it continues to expand coverage especially with video and other digital ventures,” Ross said. “I’ve known John Johnson going back to my time in the media, and I can appreciate even more now the work he did in making the MHSAA a national leader in promoting school athletics. I hope my experiences will help us build on what he created as we continue to engage more with our schools and specifically athletes, coaches, officials and families to tell our story.”
Ross was born in Escanaba and is a 1995 graduate of Saginaw Heritage High School and 1999 graduate of Michigan State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with specialty in kinesiology.
Elections were completed recently to fill positions on the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s legislative body, its Representative Council, with six members receiving re-election, another rejoining the Council after previously serving and two being selected for the first time – one of those two as part of a special election.
Five of the six re-elected members ran unopposed. Midland athletic director Eric Albright was re-elected to continue representing Class A and B schools in the northern section of the Lower Peninsula, Portage Northern athletic director Chris Riker was re-elected to continue representing Class A and B schools in the southwestern section of the Lower Peninsula, and Brighton athletic director John Thompson was re-elected to continue representing Class A and B schools in the southeastern section of the Lower Peninsula.
Calumet faculty member and past athletic director Sean Jacques was re-elected to continue representing the Class C and D schools in the Upper Peninsula. Vic Michaels, director of physical education and athletics for the Archdiocese of Detroit, was re-elected to continue representing private and parochial schools. Grand Haven superintendent Scott C. Grimes was re-elected for a statewide at-large position from an original pool of four candidates.
Bangor athletic director Fredrick J. Smith will be rejoining the Council after previously serving from 2005-17 while athletic director at Comstock, Buchanan and Benton Harbor. He was elected to represent junior high and middle schools. Harbor Springs athletic director Anna Rigby will join the Council for the first time and was elected to represent Class C and D schools in the northern section of the Lower Peninsula. All eight were elected to serve two-year terms.
Camden-Frontier superintendent Chris Adams also will be joining the Council for the first time. He was selected as part of a special election to serve a one-year term representing Class C and D schools in the southeastern section of the Lower Peninsula. He will finish the term of former Ottawa Lake Whiteford athletic director and coach Jason Mensing, who now serves at Class A Westland John Glenn.
The Representative Council is the 19-member legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members 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 Council meets three times annually, and these elections take effect with the Fall 2022 meeting. Five members of the Council convene monthly during the school year to form the MHSAA’s Executive Committee, which reviews appeals of Handbook regulations by member schools.
Additional elections took place to select representatives to the Upper Peninsula Athletic Committee. Lake Linden-Hubbell athletic director and varsity girls basketball coach Jack Kumpula was elected to represent Class D schools, and West Iron County principal, athletic director and varsity football coach Mike Berutti was elected to represent athletic coaches. Powers North Central principal David Florenski was selected in a special election to serve a one-year term representing Class D schools.
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.