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American Football Game


REGION 1 - Jeanne Lippens (Bark River-Harris) is a graduate of Bark

River-Harris. She holds an associate of arts degree in business administration

from Bay College, along with a bachelor’s degree in business from Northern

Michigan University. For more than 31 years, Jeanne has served as a full-time

contract manager and compliance officer at Pathways Community Mental

Health Center in Escanaba. She spent 12 years on the Bark River-Harris

school board before stepping away to take the athletic director role at Bark

River-Harris. Jeanne has spent the last five years at Bark River-Harris, while

continuing to work full time at Pathways Community Mental Health Center.

Alex Tiseo, athletic director at Marquette, writes, “Jeanne is very active in her

role as an athletic director and has been a great model for the athletic director

position, especially for many of our smaller schools in the Upper Peninsula.

She is heavily involved within the Bark River-Harris community and is invested

in creating the best educational athletic experience possible for each of the

student-athletes that she serves.” Jeanne was president for the Bark River-Harris school board, a past chairperson for the state of Michigan QI Coordinators Group and a member of the statewide Improving Outcomes conference committee. She is a certified compliance and ethics officer, holds a certification in health care compliance and is a member of the Health Care Compliance Association and Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics. She is volunteer director for the Bark River-Harris five-on-five tournament, which helps in funding uniforms for all sports teams, and is a volunteer sports booster for the Bark River-Harris concessions program. Jeanne has been married for 36 years to Todd, also a Bark River-Harris graduate and whom she met in high school. They have three sons, three daughters-in-law, one grandson and a granddaughter who is due in June.

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REGION 2 - Fred Bryant, CAA (Cadillac), is a graduate of Engadine High School.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University. Following

graduation, Fred returned to his alma mater to teach physical education, health

and industrial arts and coach football and basketball. He also served as assistant

athletic director for Engadine for two years. In 2004, Fred took a physical

education and health position at Newberry Schools, where he also coached

football, basketball and track. He was later named athletic director at Newberry

in 2008 and went on to be the varsity football head coach for eight years and the

girls basketball varsity head coach for three years. In 2017, Fred was named

district athletic director for Cadillac Area Schools, where he has served since.

Jennifer Brown, superintendent of Cadillac Area Schools, writes, “Fred is an

advocate for children and young adults first. His high expectations and

collaborative spirit brings people together for the greater good while holding

parties accountable to excellence. Fred builds purposeful relationships with

district leaders, students, parents and the community. He is willing to take risks and looks for opportunities to be more efficient and effective. Fred is one who encourages and supports others to find pathways forward, as opposed to focusing on the reasons to stay still. He will always roll up his sleeves when needed and there is no task or duty beneath him.” Fred has served as the Region 1 and Region 2 MIAAA representative and has also been a representative for the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association. He was president and secretary for the Straits Area Conference and has served on numerous MHSAA sport committees. Fred was a past recipient of the MIAAA Regional Athletic Director of the Year award for Region 1 and was a 2016 AP Class D girls basketball coach of the year honorable mention winner. He has served on the community recreation committee in both Newberry and Cadillac. He hosts multiple athletic events annually that honor and raise funds and awareness for the local veterans association (Vets Serving Vets) and also hosts multiple events to help support the Cadillac hospital cancer wing. Fred has been married to Heather for 26 years and they have three daughters: Taylor (24), Makenna (21) and Arianna (15).

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REGION 3 - Jason Kemler, CAA (Brethren), is a graduate of Dansville High School.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Albion College, a teaching certificate with a

history minor from Michigan State University and a master’s of administration degree

from Central Michigan University. For the past 17 years, Jason has served as

athletic director for both Brethren High School and Middle School, while also holding

a dual role as a teacher. Jakob Veith, superintendent for the Kaleva Norman Dickson

and Bear Lake Schools District, writes, “Jason is a man of many hats and has always

been the individual we can count on within the community. He never complains about

lack of time and is very committed to the community. He feels that his positions as an

educator, athletic director, coach and firefighter are not jobs, rather they are a way of

life. He takes great pride in offering the best athletics and education to our small

school. No one shows a greater work ethic and commitment to their school and

community than Jason Kemler.” During his time at Brethren, Jason has also been

coach for a number of programs, including varsity football, varsity softball, varsity girls golf and middle school track and field. The MIAAA Region 3 representative, Jason is also a member of the middle school, commemoration and historical records committees. He has hosted numerous MHSAA tournaments and helped to found the Midwest Central Michigan 8-Player Football Conference. Jason is a member of the local fire department in Brethren, where he has served as captain and secretary. He has been married to Jennifer for 27 years and they have two children, Nick and Noah.

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REGION 4 - David Engbers, CMAA (Holland Christian), is a graduate of

Whitinsville (Mass.) Christian School. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Calvin

University, along with a master’s from Western Michigan University. David began

his career in education as middle school athletic director, physical education

teacher and coach of multiple sports for Grand Rapids Christian schools from

2001-03. He then took a physical education and finance teaching position at

Holland Christian, where he also coached varsity boys lacrosse and JV girls

basketball. In 2009, David was named athletic director for Holland Christian

schools, a position he has held since. Jerry Haggerty, CAA, commissioner for

the OK Conference, writes, “David is a selfless and strong leader who is highly

respected and trusted by his colleagues. He can always be counted on to provide

an objective and insightful perspective to issues that occur within our conference

or within his school. Because of his objectivity, David has earned the nickname of

‘the voice of reason’ by one of our conference members. I personally view him

this way also and lean on him at times when I need to get some perspective on

an issue. He is proactive in anticipating potential issues and seeks input from

others to get in front of any problem.” David has served as divisional president for the OK Green and is current president for the OK Blue. He is the OK scheduling committee chair and treasurer for the MKO middle school conference and has served on the MHSAA awards, baseball rules and site selection for tennis, baseball and soccer committees. The recipient of the 2022 West Michigan Officials Association athletic director of the year award, David has also volunteered his time as a third- through sixth-grade lacrosse coach and as pastoral elder for the Faith Christian Reformed Church. David is married to Michelle, a first-grade teacher for Holland Christian. They have four children, who all attend Holland Christian; Jackson (17), William (15), Avery (12) and Claire (10).

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REGION 5 - Justin Ansel, CMAA (Comstock), is a graduate of Monroe High School.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and elementary education from Spring Arbor

University, master’s degrees from Marygrove College in education and Grand Valley

State University in educational leadership and a specialist degree in educational

leadership from GVSU. Justin served as athletic director at Onaway High School

from 2002-07 before taking his current position at Comstock, where he has been

the past 15 years. During his time at Comstock, Justin has also coached varsity

boys soccer, varsity girls basketball, middle school boys and girls basketball,

middle school soccer and middle school cross country. Dr. Jeffrey Thoenes,

superintendent of Comstock schools, writes, “Part of Justin’s winning professional

profile as an educator is his respectful demeanor, focus on team success and

optimism. He is honest, collaborative, transparent and intelligent. As a veteran

administrator and former coach, I fully realize how difficult it can be to deal with the challenges that educational leadership and interscholastic athletics represents day in and day out, week after week. Given this, I’m continually impressed with his calm and steady leadership style and approach to problem-solving, especially with angry or upset parents. His expertise, deep experience and long tenure with the district as an administrator provides important insights into the district’s history, its trends and potential.” Justin has served on the MHSAA middle school, scholar-athlete, sportsmanship, baseball rules and softball rules committees. Since 2018, he has held the position of MIAAA state certification coordinator, overseeing all SCECH opportunities for Michigan athletic directors. Justin is current president of the Southwest 10 conference and has achieved his master’s elite certification from the MHSAA coaches advancement program. During his time at Comstock, Justin has helped raise more than $80,000 through the Colt Pride Club to help fund numerous projects, including record boards, gym murals, championship banners, trophy cases and all-state displays.

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REGION 6 - Jon Zajac, RAA (Tecumseh), is a graduate of St. Clair Shores

Lakeshore High School. He holds bachelor-s, post-baccalaureate and

master’s degrees from Eastern Michigan University, where he was also a

member of the basketball team. Following college, Jon spent three years

playing professional basketball in Europe and South America before coming

back to the United States to start a career in education. Jon served as a

teacher and coach at Ypsilanti High School for 11 years before being named

the school’s athletic director during his final year at Ypsilanti. He then spent

three years as athletic director and assistant principal at Belleville High

School before taking his current position as athletic director at Tecumseh,

where he has been the past eight years. Richard Hilderey, superintendent

of Tecumseh Public Schools, writes, “Jon is a strong member of the Tecumseh

community. I know that he sees our students as extensions of his own family.

He is involved with the youth programs in Tecumseh and has a hand in their development all through the years, not only high school. He is deeply invested here. He is driven by the relationships he builds and the impact he delivers at this level. That dedication is why he is successful and why our programs do well.” Jon has been a member of the MHSAA volleyball, golf, lacrosse and soccer rules committees. He is currently chair for boys and girls basketball and boys and girls soccer for the Southeastern Conference and also sits on the constitution, expansion and scheduling committees for the conference. Jon is married to Kristy, who also played basketball at EMU. They have four children: Ryder (17), Alli (15), Addison (13) and Avery (12).

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REGION 7 - Michael Brya (DeWitt) is a graduate of DeWitt High School. He holds

a bachelor’s degree from Hope College, where he was also a four-year letter

winner in baseball, along with a master’s degree from Michigan State University.

Michael served as a social studies teacher at DeWitt High School for more than

18 years, primarily teaching government and AP government, before taking on

the athletic director role that he has held for the past five years. In addition, he

was the varsity baseball coach at DeWitt for 10 years, officiated baseball and

basketball for more than 20 years for the MHSAA and spent more than 10 years

as a collegiate basketball official, twice working the Horizon League conference

tournament. Shanna Spickard, superintendent of DeWitt schools, writes, “From

Mike’s experiences at the building, district and state levels, anyone can see that

he is committed to serving students and communities. Mike has one of the kindest

hearts of the leaders I have met through my 23 years in education. He is not only

a great representation of the DeWitt Panther fight song, ‘strong, loyal, united and

true,’ he also brings perspective, understanding and a wealth of knowledge to the profession. Mike is in every essence of the words ‘a team player.’” A former Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association coach of the year recipient, Michael was a representative of the association for seven years and is a lifetime member. He is director of basketball for the Capital Area Officials Association, helping to teach and train basketball officials in the league. Michael was a founding committee member for both the DeWitt High School hall of fame and DeWitt High School Veterans program and was a committee member and tournament director for the Capital Diamond Classic tournament. He is father to Gabriella (17), Molly (15) and Brody (13).

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REGION 8 - Kevin Schwedler (Frankenmuth) is a graduate of Bullock Creek High

School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Saginaw Valley

State University, along with a master’s degree from Central Michigan University

in sports administration. While at SVSU, Kevin was a member of the baseball team.

Kevin was an assistant baseball coach at SVSU for five seasons before taking the

role of athletic director at Frankenmuth in 2015, where he has served since.

Justin Freeland, athletic director at Bullock Creek, writes, “Kevin’s competence

and communication skills are both very impressive. When an area athletic director

is facing a difficult issue, Kevin is on the short list of individuals we all call to seek

counsel and guidance from an experienced professional. Kevin has the ability to

look at an issue from all angles. The ability to sincerely consider the viewpoints

of the athlete, the parent, the coach, the official, the community member or any

other impacted individual helps him render the most fair decision after gathering

all the pertinent information. His calm, measured, yet determined demeanor fits

very well with what is needed in today’s sometimes contentious educational athletic environment.” In addition, Kevin has been the district sinking fund and bond project manager for Frankenmuth for the past three years. Kevin was the 2017 Tri-Valley Conference chair and has been a member of the MHSAA soccer committee. During his tenure, Kevin has worked to secure several major facility upgrades at Frankenmuth, including renovations to the weight room and gym, track and tennis court resurfacing and, recently, the addition of artificial turf on the soccer and stadium fields and seating for both the baseball and softball stadiums. He has established golf outings and raffles to help support the Frankenmuth boosters and hosted several MHSAA postseason events. Kevin is a volunteer for the Frankenmuth Autofest, a volunteer coordinator for the American Legion and a member of the Bullock Creek Little League field cleanup committee.

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REGION 9 - Brad LaRowe (Lake Fenton) is a graduate of Clio High School.

He attended Adrian College for two years, where he was also a member of the

baseball team while working toward a degree in education, before earning a

bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint. Brad coached basketball,

football and baseball for more than 20 years between Clio and Lake Fenton,

including a six-year run as the varsity baseball coach for Lake Fenton. Brad

has served as athletic director at Lake Fenton for the past five years after

previously holding the position of career and EDP coordinator for the school.

Shayne Mishler, CAA, athletic director at Montrose, writes, “Brad is a great

communicator. His staff, athletes and parents are informed and organized.

Working with youth athletics, off-season programs and summer workouts,

he has created avenues for athletes to receive opportunities to become better.

Brad is authentic, good-natured, competitive, humorous and supportive. He wants

to see the best in his athletes and coaches and encourages, instructs, supports and leads in a manner that produces positive results.” Brad is co-chair for the MIAAA constitution committee, helped transition Lake Fenton from the Genesee Area Conference to the Flint Metro League and has helped to oversee competitive cheer, wrestling and boys and girls lacrosse for the Flint Metro League. A recipient of the Genesee Area Conference baseball coach of the year award in 2015, Brad is a member of the Career Connections Committee with the Fenton/Linden Chamber of Commerce to help student involvement and career planning activities. He also helps to organize and run many fundraising events to help support families in need in the Fenton and Linden area. Brad has been married to Darci, who also works in education, for 14 years.

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REGION 10 - Cody Smith, RAA (Romeo), is a graduate of Macomb Dakota

High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from

Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in sport administration

from Florida State University. While at FSU, Cody also served as

ice hockey head coach. Cody spent six years as athletic director and

facilities coordinator at L’Anse Creuse North before taking his current

position as director of student activities and athletics at Romeo, where

he has been for the past five years. Ryann Stocker, athletic director

at L’Anse Creuse High School, writes, “It is evident that Cody is someone

that rises to any occasion. He is grounded, reasonable and has a knack

for just simply doing things right. An athletic department led by Cody

Smith is one based on ethics and integrity. He tackles our profession like

a crafty veteran, but with a youthful sense of energy and good nature

which, I believe, is what makes him so successful. He can relate well

with his staff and, more importantly, his student-athletes. A lot of what I do on a day-to-day basis on the job is modeled after Cody.” Cody has been very involved with the Macomb Area Conference, serving on the executive board as secretary, vice president and president, in addition to roles as conference treasurer and chairman for ice hockey, lacrosse and bowling. At the MHSAA level, he has been a part of the bowling, lacrosse and ice hockey committees, the lacrosse and ice hockey officials selection committees and numerous site and selection committees. A member of the Romeo Schools health and wellness committee, Cody was a recipient of the Romeo R Family Award for commitment to the district, modeling the district’s core values and exemplifying the importance the district places on family. He has helped in organizing the Romeo Watchdog Week, when all athletic teams raise money for a cancer charity, created the Romeo athletic advisory committee and supported Coaches vs. Cancer and Toys for Tots events. Cody is married to Jacquelyn and they have two sons, Landon and Colton.

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REGION 11 - Jeff DelGiudice (Dearborn Fordson) is a graduate of

Dearborn Edsel Ford High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in

history and political science from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and

a master’s degree in educational leadership from Wayne State University.

Jeff has spent his entire career in education at Dearborn High School. He

served as a history teacher for 13 years while also taking on roles as an girls

basketball assistant coach, tennis head coach and boys basketball head

coach. In 2008, Jeff was named athletic director at Dearborn Fordson, a

role that he has held since. Jeff Conway, CAA, athletic director at Dearborn

High School, writes, “I have worked with Jeff for almost 25 years and have

always known him to be a very passionate and intense supporter of high

school athletics. Working together in the same school district, I have

witnessed his ability to streamline the problem-solving process and

always look for the solution that will most benefit our student-athletes.

He is well respected by his peers, coaches, athletes and the parents at Fordson High School and is continually striving to make the student-athlete experience a better one for those who pass through Fordson’s halls.” Jeff has been a member of the MHSAA basketball officials committee, the MHSAA basketball site selection committee, is a BCAM lifetime member and is currently the KLAA conference commissioner for football. Jeff has helped to spearhead a complete renovation of the Fordson gymnasium and athletic facilities, created the Fordson Athletic Hall of Fame during the 100-year anniversary of the school, assisted in starting the Michael Guido Holiday Basketball Showcase (which raised more than $25,000 over the last decade for cancer research at the Karmanos Institute) and has worked closely with the Fordson Varsity Alumni Club to provide food and other materials to the community during the pandemic. Jeff was the all-Metro basketball coach of the year in 2001, a BCAM regional coach of the year in 2001 and 2009 and earned the Michigan PTA distinguished service award in 2014. Jeff, a lifelong resident of Dearborn, is married to Katie and they have two daughters, Jules and Cece.

DelGiudice Region 11 Photo.jpg

REGION 12 - Don McKenzie, CAA (Lincoln Park), is a graduate of Lincoln Park

High School. He holds a bachelor’s of science degree from Wayne State University,

along with a master’s of education degree, also from WSU. Don began his career

in education at Hamilton Alternative High School, where he served as an English

and social studies teacher for two years. He then returned to his alma mater,

taking an English teaching position for two years before transitioning to Lincoln

Park Middle School as a social studies teacher. For the past 11 years, Don has

been athletic director at Lincoln Park while also holding an assistant principal

role. James Trush, CAA, athletic director at Trenton High School, writes, “Don

is easy to work with, patient, kind and never seems to get suffocated by the

challenges his position faces. He has made an enormous impact on his sports

programs at Lincoln Park. While all athletic directors have the same title,

none of them are ever doing the same job. Don juggles his responsibilities

calmly and efficiently and, since I began working with him, I have appreciated

his professionalism, his support for his students and his friendship. I couldn't think of anyone more deserving of this honor.” Don has coached numerous sports for Lincoln Park High School and Middle School. He coached wrestling and football at the middle school level, while also volunteering to coach youth soccer, baseball and basketball. He coached freshman, JV and varsity football at Lincoln Park High School and was the wrestling head coach for nine years. As a wrestling coach, Don has more than 100 career wins, has coached league, district, regional, state and world champions and is an active member of the Michigan Wrestling Coaches Association and National Wrestling Coaches Association. Don is married to Halley and they have two children, Clara and Grant.

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REGION 13 - Tim Donnan, CAA (Southfield Christian), is a graduate of

Southfield Christian High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree from

Trinity International University. Tim began his career in education at

Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook in 1999, serving as a physical education

teacher at the school for three years. During that time, Tim also coached

freshman basketball at Brother Rice for two years and was a varsity

basketball assistant coach at Royal Oak Shrine for a year. He then took

the physical education teacher position at Brandon High School, a

position he held until 2009 while also taking on the role of varsity boys

basketball head coach for six of those years. Tim jumped to the college

ranks for two years as an men’s basketball assistant coach at Albion

College before returning to his alma mater, in 2011, as athletic director,

a position he has held since. Matt Windle, CAA, athletic director at

Plymouth Christian, writes, “Tim provides great leadership to both his

school and athletic program at Southfield Christian school, as well as the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference. He firmly understands the purpose of educational athletics as an extension of the classroom and his leadership continually impacts schools, administrators, coaches and student-athletes alike to be the best version of themselves. I am grateful to work alongside Tim as an officer of our conference, have always had great respect for his leadership skills and continually seek wisdom and resources from Tim to better myself as an A.D.” While at Southfield Christian, Tim has served as treasurer and commissioner for the MIAC. He has also been on the board for the Oakland County Athletic Directors Association as secretary and vice president. Tim has been a member of the MHSAA scholar-athlete, classification, volleyball rules, volleyball site selection, league leadership and private school committees. An active member of the MIAAA, BCAM and MIVCA, Tim was instrumental in the expansion of the MIAC. Tim has been married for 22 years to Theresa and they have two children, Alexis (19) and T.J. (16).

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REGION 14 - JT Hogan, RAA (Spring Lake), is a graduate of Traverse City West

High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Aquinas College. JT began

his career in educational athletics at Kingsley Area Schools, where he served

as athletic director for three years. In 2014, JT took the athletic director position

at Allendale Schools, where he remained until 2021 before taking his current

role as athletic director for Spring Lake Schools. Dennis Furton, superintendent

for Spring Lake Schools, writes, “As a leader within our region, JT has led the

OK Middle School Conference for five years. JT’s peers recognized his ability

and repeatedly endorsed him leading this critical mission. He is a humble servant

leader. These characteristics don’t restrict him from being a fierce competitor,

as he never struggles to find opportunities to improve the student-athlete

experience while simultaneously improving performance outcomes. I’m lucky

to work with a number of staff who were ‘born’ to do the work they do – JT is

one of these.” JT currently serves as the MIAAA Region 4 alternate representative, is a member of the scholarship and awards committees and has been a speaker and proctor at the annual conference. Within the OK Conference, he has taken on numerous roles, including president, division president and representative for the realignment, scheduling, gender equity, current issues, officials pay and relations committees. JT has been president and a scheduling committee member for the West Michigan Middle School Conference and was president of the Aquinas College Sport Management Club. At the MHSAA level, he has been a member of the junior high/middle school, scholar-athlete, gender equity, swim and dive, baseball and softball site selection and cross country site and selection committees, in addition to being a former registered official in baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, cross country and track and field. A member of the Traverse City West Hall of Fame for Athletics, JT has volunteered his time to the Allendale Township parks and recreation committee, Kingsley recreational baseball and softball league, Kinsley athletic boosters board, Kingsley kids’café and Kingsley civic center south. JT is married to Joanne.

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