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Athlete Concentrating




Thompson AD of the Year.jpg

John Thompson, CMAA (Brighton), is a graduate of Pope John Paul II (Fla.) High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in pre-law from Lambuth College, with a double minor in communication and business, a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina in education administration, an education specialist’s degree from Eastern Michigan University and is a graduate of the Michigan Leadership Institute superintendent academy.


Prior to serving as an athletic director, John coached college football at Dartmouth, the University of Washington, the University of South Carolina and Lock Haven University. While at the University of Washington, he was part of two Rose Bowl championships and a national championship. John is in his 27th year as an athletic administrator and his 20th at Brighton, while also serving as director for community education and K-12 physical education chair. He has also held administrative roles, including grade-level principal, communications and public relations director, curriculum chair and school improvement chair.


Dan Hutcheson, assistant director for the MHSAA, wrote, “John’s ability to mentor staff and coaches, as well as league colleagues, is unparalleled. But what really separates John from many other school athletic administrators is his deep love and caring for the individual students in his school. I have witnessed him take hours out of his day to talk, counsel and affirm students that are struggling physically, mentally and emotionally. I have seen him build relationships with students that go beyond the classroom and the athletic arena. Relationships built with students that focus on the person as a whole and not just because they were good athletes. He builds relationships through compassion, as well as finding common ground shared through personal experiences and/or hardships he himself has experienced. I know this award honors the top ‘athletic’ administrator but, at the end of the day, athletics is a very small portion of what we do. The personal compassion, focus, attention and love of students is what any administrator in any position should aspire to and I think John is at the top of that list.”


John served as MIAAA LTI registrar for more than 10 years and is a member of the membership services and exemplary athletic program committees. He has been an MHSAA representative council member for 14 years, served on the MHSAA audit and finance committees, been a member of more than 10 MHSAA sport committees and was an MHSAA task force committee member for transfer regulations and contact days. John was among the first group to complete all levels of the MHSAA coaches advancement program and was an instructor for more than 15 years. He has administered every sport tournament offered by the MHSAA, is a member of MASSP and was a founding member and vice president of the KLAA.


Under John’s leadership, Brighton was named an MIAAA exemplary athletic program in 2015 and an ESPN unified champion school in 2018, one of only three in the nation. John, along with Brian Gordon, co-founded the concept of unified sports play within the KLAA and has overseen this initiative as it has made its way across Michigan. He was named an MIAAA Regional athletic director of the year in 2010, the MIAAA George Lovich State of Merit award recipient in 2015 and was Michigan Special Olympics Leadership Award winner in 2019. John has volunteered with the United Way, Day of Caring, Gleaners food bank and is a Salvation Army bell ringer.


His parents, Mary and John, were both educators and his father was a former college coach and athletic director at Sault Ste. Marie. John has been married to Michelle for 24 years and they have two daughters, Hannah Grace and Ella Ayn.


1972-73 Dick Maher, Sturgis
1973-74 Clayton Kowalk, Lansing
1974-75 Jim Inman, Hillsdale
1975-76 Jack Cotton, Farmington
1976-77 Don Domke, Westland John Glenn
1977-78 Howard Kraft, Redford Union
1978-79 Walt Bazylewicz, Detroit Parochial
1979-80 Tom McShannock, Muskegon
1980-81 Bob James, Warren
1981-82 Clayton Kowalk, Lansing
1982-83 Jack Johnson, Dearborn
1983-84 Dennis Kiley, Jackson
1984-85 Ron Gulyas, Flat Rock Woodhaven
1985-86 Phil Marazita, Lansing Waverly
1986-87 Richard Snyder, Warren
1987-88 Herb Quade, Benton Harbor
1988-89 Wayne Kellogg, Coldwater
1989-90 Mike Foster, CAA, Richland Gull Lake
1990-91 Richard Ulrich, Rochester
1991-92 Bernie Larson, CAA, B.C. Pennfield
1992-93 Chuck Jones, CAA, Royal Oak
1993-94 Norm Johnson, Bangor
1994-95 Roy A. Allen, Jr., Detroit Public
1995-96 Joe Todey, Essexville Garber

1996-97 Eric Federico, CAA, Trenton
1997-98 Jane Bennett, CMAA, Ann Arbor Huron
1998-99 Chuck Nurek, CAA, Avondale
1999-00 Fred Smith, CMAA, Comstock
2000-01 Dan McShannock, CMAA, Midland Dow
2001-02 Jim Feldkamp, CAA, Troy
2002-03 Tom Rashid, CAA, Detroit CHSL
2003-04 Carl Latora, CMAA, Portage Northern
2004-05 Ken Semelsberg er, CMAA, Port Huron
2005-06 Melanie Miller, CMAA, Lansing Sexton
2006-07 Karen Leinaar, CAA, Benzie Central
2007-08 Jamie Gent, CMAA, Haslett
2008-09 Pete Ryan, CMAA, Saginaw Heritage
2009-10 Vic Michaels, CAA, Detroit CHSL
2010-11 Gary Hice, CAA, Petoskey
2011-12 Michael Roy, CMAA, Vicksburg
2012-13 Rick Schmidt, CAA, Holt
2013-14 Dave Chrisinske, CAA, Thornapple Kellogg
2014-15 Deb VanKuiken, CMAA, Holly
2015-16 Michael Garvey, CMAA, Hackett
2016-17 Chris Ervin, CAA, St. Johns
2017-18 Ken Mohney, CMAA, Matawan
2018-19 Marc Hage, CMAA, Livonia Churchill

2019-20 Betty Wroubel, CAA, Notre Dame Prep

2020-21 Mike Bakker, CMAA, Fenton High School

2021-22 Meg Seng, CMAA, Ann Arbor Greenhills

2022-23 Mike Quinn, CMAA, Lake Odessa Lakewood

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