Friday, December 19, 2008

Mark Ingram, the New York Giants, Ferlin Husky and Facebook

Tossed my profile out on Facebook a while back. Still unsure of this social networking thing - but I must say that I'm stunned by:

a) What people will reveal in a public forum. I'm a computer guy and understand the damage that can be done with such information.

b) The ability of such tools to link people...
1) I'm talkin' long lost people from your past.
2) to people that you didn't realize you had a connection with.
3) with incredible talents and interest unknown previously to you.

I guess we really are only Six Degrees away from Kevin Bacon. Well - maybe seven...

c) The new links that you can find

Check this one out - An article by a Facebook friend, Tom Skinner, connect to me by - what else - prep sports.

A Fallen Star.

I remember when the phrase was so innocent.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Prep Basketball season in Michigan

As historian, one of the lists that I'm trying to complete is a list of teams, sores, coaches and win-loss marks for the participants in the final rounds of Michigan's state basketball tournament.

I have the teams and scores. I don't always have the coaches and team records.

I'm chasing the information for both the boys and girls:

Here's an example from my girls listing...

Year Class Round Team Coach Record
1979 C SF Addison Tom Britsch

1993 A QF Adrian

2001 D QF Adrian Lenawee Christian

1974 B QF Algonac

1975 C SF Allen Park Cabrini

1974 D QF Allendale
1975 D F Allendale

1990 A QF Alpena
1991 A QF Alpena

1997 A QF Ann Arbor

1978 D QF Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard
1984 C QF Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard

1995 A QF Ann Arbor Huron 22-5

1974 A QF Ann Arbor Pioneer
1994 A QF Ann Arbor Pioneer

1973 D SF Ann Arbor St. Thomas
1974 D SF Ann Arbor St. Thomas

1979 C QF Armada

1982 D QF Ashley Carl Wayer
1983 D QF Ashley Carl Wayer

1993 D QF Athens

1989 D QF Auburn Hills Oakland Christian

1975 D QF AuGres

1980 D QF Baldwin

1978 D QF Battle Creek St. Philip
1980 D QF Battle Creek St. Philip
1989 D QF Battle Creek St. Philip
1996 D QF Battle Creek St. Philip 19-7
1997 D QF Battle Creek St. Philip
1998 D QF Battle Creek St. Philip

as well as one from the boys.

Year Class Round Team Coach
1962 B QF Escanaba Holy Name John Butrymowicz
1970 B QF Escanaba Holy Name
1971 B QF Escanaba Holy Name 20-1

1953 C SF Escanaba St. Joseph Thomas St. Germain

1939 C QF Evart
1947 C F Evart Thomas Hill

1974 D QF Ewen Trout Creek
1993 D QF Ewen Trout Creek 22-3

1944 D QF Fairview J.A. Gisvold

1921 B F Farmington
1924 C SF Farmington
1925 C QF Farmington
1946 B SF Farmington Robert Hutton
1949 B QF Farmington Robert Hutton

1945 B QF Fenton
1946 B F Fenton Ivan William
1965 B QF Fenton Leroy Decker

1949 A SF Ferndale Roy Burkhart

1939 C QF Ferndale St. James

1984 C QF Flint Academy 21-4
1985 C QF Flint Academy 19-4

1945 C QF Flint All Saints
1948 C QF Flint All Saints Ray Seidel

1922 A QF Flint Central
1923 A QF Flint Central
1925 A QF Flint Central
1926 A QF Flint Central
1927 A QF Flint Central
1944 A QF Flint Central Dick Evans
1948 A SF Flint Central Richard Evans
1951 A SF Flint Central John Hoekje
1955 A SF Flint Central Joseph Dowdy

You get the picture.

Can you help?

Follow those links and see if your team is out there.

You can e-mail me at

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Charles Rogers and Jeff Putnum make moves.

The story of Saginaw's Charles Rogers is a sad one. I had the pleasure of watching him play in high school. In 1998, the team traveled to Muskegon and defeated the Big Reds 36-29.

The Trojans won the Division 2 state title in 1999. Quarterback Brandon Cork connected on a 60-yard TD to Rogers in the first quarter. Running back Terry Jackson scored on a 17-yard run, then broke the plane for the two-point conversion in the fourth quarter as Saginaw downed Birmingham Brother Rice 14-7 for the Division 2 state title. Rogers was something special. After starring for MSU, he was drafted by the Detroit Lions. But injuries and three failed drug tests meant his playing days were over.

As usual, Mick McCabe of the Detroit Free Press nails it.

In September he was arrested and charged with assault and battery and later pleaded no contest to trespassing charges and received a deferred sentence. But he tested positive for Vicodin and has now been ordered to enter the sobriety-court program in which he will undergo daily drug testing.

Charles Rogers is only 27 years old.

It’s all so disappointing. I genuinely liked Rogers. I thought he was a good kid.

But they all start out as good kids.

Why this blog about Rogers?

Well, on Wednesday, Dec. 17, the players on the Free Press All-State Dream Team will be honored at the Dearborn Inn at our banquet with the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.

The 23 youngsters will be dressed in tuxedos and treated like kings.

They should remember that in 1999, Charles Rogers was one of them.

Speaking of the Free Press, word is big news will be coming out of Detroit next week, and this time it won't focus on the Auto Industry. This will relate to the News and Free Press.

Hard to imaging that one day, newspapers as we know them will no longer exist.

In Friday's prep edition, Mick also told the tale about Davison football coach Jeff Putnam stepping down. I hope the Cardinal's mascot is crying again, as this is truly sad news. The Flint Journal's Bill Khan broke the story on Monday, December 8.

Putnum has led two varsity squads (Lapeer West 1985-1997; Davison 1999-2007) duing his varsity coaching career, posting a 159-77 record. His Lapeer West squad won the MHSAA state title in Class A in 1995. At Davison, he finishes with a 76-34.

Davison has lost a good one. As many know, his team had Muskegon on the ropes in the Division 2 semifinal this year. The Cardinals were an outstanding squad, and were led by a stellar sophomore quarterback in Jake Thompson. (I hear he's a pretty good golfer as well.) I was looking forward to seeing what Putnum's team would do next year.

In true 21st century, politically correct fashion, the word from the district was direct, positive...and said absolutely nothing.

Athletic Director Scott Thurlow said Putnam will be missed.

"Jeff has developed a winning tradition and has done a wonderful job taking our football program to the next level," Thurlow said. "He takes the game beyond the X's and O's and instills values and good character in his players. We wish him the best."

On a sports talk show, Khan spoke more on the subject, and indicated that Putnam has no issues with Thurlow. Apparently, the issues is higher in the ranks.

Is it Putnam? Is it administration? I honestly don't know.

But, I am amazed at the challenges that high school athletics face from some high school administrators, school board members and parents. The issue of the importance of sports within the education process has always been with us. Dig back in the archives, and you'll see the same questions raised in 1908. It was no different in 1800's.

Like most involved with athletics, I, believe they are a privilege. I also believe prep sports are an extension of the classroom. They taint how students look at themselves. They taint how school districts are perceived. The taint how a villages, towns, cities and metro statistical area view themselves, and how others view them. They are the foundation of may traditions that we know.

I'm a graduate of Muskegon High School, with children who are enrolled in the district. I have seen the important lessons that are taught by participation. I know the importance that they play in the lives of many kids. I understand the role that they can play within a school district. And I completely understand the importance of finding quality coaches to lead.

Ask Terrence Taylor - now a graduate of the University of Michigan. For those counting, he's out in three and one half years.

Ask Ben Evans, a graduate of Colgate.

Check with Jason Ruud, a student at Hope College and Dwight Quinn, now a teacher within the Kalamazoo Public Schools district.

Ask Andrew Jados, now working in New Jersey. Check in with Grand Valley State University graduate, Callistus Eziukwu.

Ask Elan Banks, the quarterback who led this year's team to the state title, whose father is currently stationed in Korea as a member of the U.S. Army.

Ask Jason Hannett. His mother is staying in Texas.

Ask my oldest son, who wants to play baseball at Muskegon. Ask his best friend, Terrance Spears, who wants to play the game as well.

For some, prep athletics meant a chance to go to college. For others, their athletic careers are only now beginning to reveal their role in life.

Those I mention are all kids enrolled in or who are recent graduates from Muskegon High School. I could go on for hours if I begin speaking about the former athletes that I met from across the state.

Whether the district is urban or suburban, I still believe some of life's most valuable lessons can be found on a districts playing surfaces. Just because a child lives in what we call a "traditional family," it doesn't mean that he has nothing to learn from such an experience.

I seen the studies.
From Fortune magazine - 95% of Fortune 500 executives participated in high school athletics. 47% of Fortune 500 executives were National Honor Society members.

From Minnesota - Student-athletes have a higher grade point average (2.84) than non-athletes (2.68).

From North Dakota - Students who participate in athletics missed an average of 4.9 days of school per year, including 0.7 days for athletic contests. Non-participants missed an average of 10.8 school days per year.

From the National Federation of State High School Associations - 96% of dropouts in 14 school districts in seven regions of the nation were not participating in an athletic program.
More importantly, I've talked to the people who have participated.

It's sad to see quality coaches step aside.

It's sad to learn about those few, statistically, who made it, but were unable to handle the pressures of the limelight.

And it's sad to see the media headlines again focused on the fall of one, instead of the success of so many others.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Erin Cameron celebrates at Applebee's

(I wonder who the Hometown Hero was?)

While we're on the subject of swimming, my buddy Tim Barrett sent me a nice link from the Monroe News on Gibraltar Carlson's Erin Cameron. Check this out...
Erin Cameron made swimming history for Gibraltar Carlson Saturday.

The junior became the first Carlson swimmer to win a state title and she did it twice, both in state-record times.
Ordinary kids doing extraordinary things! That's what I love about high school sports.

Cameron set state records in the backstroke (55:68) and individual medley (2:05.40), winning those events by two and five seconds, respectively.
Cameron celebrated with a meal at Applebee's
"I ate some pretty bad stuff for me," she said. "I had a nice hamburger and some chocolate cake. I haven't had anything like that for at least the last two weeks."

Cameron made the U.S. Open cut in the backstroke and her Senior Nationals cut in both events. She will compete in Nationals Dec. 4-7 in Atlanta.

Thought this was rather interesting as well...

Milan's Maura Donahue repeated as a double state champion and broke the state record in the 500 freestyle...

Donahue repeated as champion in the 200 (1:52.51) and 500 freestyle (5:00.00). Her 500 time broke the state record. She needed it as runner-up Leigh Holmes of Alma was just 15/100ths of a second behind in 5:00.15.

"The last 50 yards, my heart was in my throat," said Milan coach Dan Heikka. "Maura is just a gutsy kid. I was very proud of her."

Donahue said she took the early lead, but Holmes came from behind. "It was neck and neck for probably about 10 laps," the Milan senior said. "I was just trying to put on the speed while still having something left. In the last four lengths, I really started to pick it up."
The NFL has the Manning's - Archie, Payton, and Eli. Milan, Michigan has the Donahue's.
Maura plans to study nursing in college, possibly at the University of Indianapolis where her sister, Meghan, is a swimmer. Their mother, Sally Donahue, was a state champion for Milan in the 50 and 100 freestyle.
Oh - and the Hack House Museum.