MHSAA assistant director Kathy Vruggink Westdorp is one of eight high school association leaders who have been selected to receive a Citation from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) during this summer’s annual meeting.
The Citation is one of the NFHS’ highest honors and recognizes recipients for their contributions to the NFHS, state high school associations, athletic director and coaching professions, the officiating avocation and fine arts/performing arts programs.
In addition to serving in most of those roles over more than 20 years in Grand Rapids-area schools, Westdorp has been a national leader in a number of efforts since joining the MHSAA staff during the 2003-04 school year.
She directs the MHSAA Coaches Advancement Program (CAP) and was named NFHS Coach Educator of the Year in 2015 for her leadership of the eight-level educational program that has seen nearly 16,000 coaches complete at least the first-level unit and nearly 2,300 advance through at least the program’s fourth level.
Westdorp received the MHSAA’s Women In Sports Leadership Award in 2004 and now directs that leadership program, as well as serves as lead MHSAA administrator for competitive cheer, girls gymnastics and girls lacrosse. She currently chairs the NFHS Education Committee and NFHS Girls Lacrosse Rules Committee.
“Kathy Westdorp is an incredibly hard worker, and that’s obvious in her dedication to her sports and especially coaches education,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “She’s tireless in her support for students and coaches in Michigan.”
Prior to joining the MHSAA staff, Westdorp served as a teacher, coach, athletic director, game official and school administrator. She came to the MHSAA after serving most recently as principal at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central High School.
She also previously served as athletic director at Grand Rapids Creston and as director of health and wellness programs for Grand Rapids Public Schools, taught at Grand Rapids Central and has coached basketball, field hockey, gymnastics, track & field and volleyball. Westdorp also is a past president of the Ottawa-Kent Conference.
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.