CHSL director Vic Michaels inducted a ‘Legend’ at Hall of Fame ceremonies

Vic Michaels, the CHSL’s seventh and longest-serving director, was inducted a “Catholic High School League Legend, ” only the 15th so honored in the league’s 98-year history.

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Membership increased by 24 in the Catholic League High School and Catholic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in induction ceremonies June 10 at the Fern Hill Country Club.

Hall of Fame Presentations

Catholic High School League Legend: Vic Michaels, Director of the Catholic High School League

When Vic Michaels talks about the history of the Catholic High School League, you’d be wise to pay attention.

He knows what he’s talking about with knowledge and experience gained from several points of view: as a student, teacher, athlete, parent, coach, athletic director, associate league director, and league director.

Upon the announcement that he was named a “Catholic High School League Legend” — only the 15th so honored in the league’s 98-year history — Michaels responded with a declaration:

“Catholic League history means a lot to me. That’s why this award is so special. To be named a Legend means I’ll be forever a part of the league’s history.”

He quipped: “Not bad for a guy who didn’t want the job.”

Michaels, 69, has had a relationship with the Catholic League for all but four years since 1968, when he was a 13-year-old freshman at St. Phillip High School. When St. Phillip closed, he transferred to St. Ambrose.

He spent the next four years at Detroit Tech on a basketball scholarship.

He resumed his ties with the Catholic League in a 17-year stretch (1978-95) as teacher, boys and girls basketball coach, athletic director and assistant principal at St. Clement High School in Center Line. He was named Class C “Coach of the Year” in 1984 with the girls' team and in 1987 with the boys' team. He was inducted into the CHSL Hall of Fame as Athletic Director of the Year in 1988 and two years later in the “coaches” category.

Twice he declined then-CHSL director Tom Rashid’s invitation to be the associate director.

“I came home one Saturday morning after playing golf,” Michaels said, “and there was Tom sitting at the kitchen table with my wife Linda. She said, ‘You know, Vic, you should take this job.’ I couldn’t say no to her.”

Upon Rashid’s retirement in 2003, Michaels became the CHSL’s seventh — and longest serving — director. Since then, Michaels has represented non-public schools on the MHSAA Representative Council and serves as the council’s secretary-treasurer and as part of its executive committee.

In 1995, there were 46 schools participating in the Catholic League. When Michaels took office in 2003, the number had shrunk to 24. He took the initiative and invited non-public and non-denominational schools into the league, now thriving with a current membership of 33 schools playing 14 boys sports and 16 girls sports.

Vic and Linda met at St. Ambrose and celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary in March. Their sons, Marc and Brad, attended Harper Woods Notre Dame, and their wives, Lia and Stephanie, respectively, are Warren Regina alums.

Michaels’ five grandsons “are my starting five, and they’ll be attending a Catholic high school someday.”

The Michaels’ legend keeps growing.

The Ed Lauer Person of the Year award: Keith Burke, Alliance Catholic Credit Union

Eight years ago, the CEO of Alliance Catholic Credit Union, Rob Grech, attended the Prep Bowl. After seeing the exhibits and all the festivities pertaining to the Prep Bowl, otherwise known as a celebration of Catholic schools, he wanted to know how his company could get involved.

Keith Burke, president of the Alliance Catholic Foundation, became the point person for their involvement. In addition to helping to fund the Catholic League by becoming a sponsor, the Alliance Catholic Foundation has awarded more than $160,000 in scholarships to 80 students attending Catholic League “Live It, Show It, Share It” programs.

The credit union has sponsored a free financial literacy program that has been used by more than 70 teachers at 28 Catholic high schools in the archdiocese.

Some of the events and sponsorships the credit union has supported include gala nights, golf outings, retreats, financial wellness presentations, credit and budgeting presentations, food truck rallies, scoreboards, and senior nights.

Alliance Catholic Credit Union’s stewardship to Catholic schools has made a lasting impact on many young Catholics and the schools they attend.

“As a league so rich in history and tradition,” said Vic Michaels, CHSL director, “we continue our strong tradition by honoring so deserving a person as Keith Burke and award him our 2024 Ed Lauer Person of the Year.”

The James Leary School of the Year Award: Novi Detroit Catholic Central

This award is presented annually to the league school that best exemplifies spirit, sportsmanship and cooperation. This year’s award is given to Novi Detroit Catholic Central, whose mission has been to educate young men in the Basilian tradition of goodness, discipline, and knowledge since 1928.

The quality of their education and the quality of the young people at the school are just two of the reasons that Catholic Central is being honored. With an enrollment of 930 students, Catholic Central offers 17 varsity athletic teams and has won a staggering 220 Catholic League championships and 99 MHSAA state championships in its history.

In addition, the school is one of the most cooperative and helpful in the Catholic League. Under the guidance of president Ed Turek, principal Fr. Patrick Fulton, and athletic director Aaron Babich, the athletic program has become one of the best in the league.

The Tom Kelly Athletic Director of The Year award: Brandon Malinowski, Farmington Hills Mercy

This award is given out annually to recognize athletic directors who have exemplified good sportsmanship and dedication to their school and to the Catholic League. This is the 48th year the award has been made and the first time it is given to the son of a two-time former awardee, his mother Nancy (1999, 2018).

A 2007 graduate of Riverview Gabriel Richard and in 2010 from Madonna University with a degree in sports management, Brandon Malinowski worked for 10 years in the Catholic League office as the coordinator of activities. In 2019, he succeeded his mother as athletic director at Mercy.

In the short time he has been there, Mercy has won four MHSAA state titles (two in golf, and one in swimming and volleyball) and numerous CHSL titles. He has served on the Catholic League’s executive board as both an elected representative of the girls Central Division and as president of the Catholic League Women’s Coaches Association.

The Class of 2024 inductees into the CHSL Hall of Fame: front row l-r:  Walter Reynolds, Chevonne Wheeler, Theo Day, Micah Corey, Vic Michaels, Mitch Lowney, Jordan Hyde, Antonio Flores, Jalen Thomas, Louie DeBerry (father of Joshua DeBerry). back row l-r:  Paul Woodard, Nick Kocsis, Mike Armstrong, John Nader, Keith Burke, Ed Turek (president of CC), Jay Lang, Brandon Malinowski, Tony Ball, Mark Soma. (Photo by Don Horkey | Special to Detroit Catholic)
The Class of 2024 inductees into the CHSL Hall of Fame: front row l-r: Walter Reynolds, Chevonne Wheeler, Theo Day, Micah Corey, Vic Michaels, Mitch Lowney, Jordan Hyde, Antonio Flores, Jalen Thomas, Louie DeBerry (father of Joshua DeBerry). back row l-r: Paul Woodard, Nick Kocsis, Mike Armstrong, John Nader, Keith Burke, Ed Turek (president of CC), Jay Lang, Brandon Malinowski, Tony Ball, Mark Soma. (Photo by Don Horkey | Special to Detroit Catholic)

Hall of Fame Athletes

Micah Carey (Warren Regina 2019, University of Detroit Jesuit and Youngstown State) — At Regina, Micah was the Catholic League hurdles champion and lettered in two sports. She excelled as a track and field athlete at both Detroit Mercy and Youngstown State. At Detroit Mercy, she set the school’s long jump record at 19 feet. At Youngstown, where she is a nursing major, she set that school’s long jump record at 20 feet.

Theo Day (Dearborn Divine Child 2018, Michigan State and University of Northern Iowa.) In high school, he was ranked the top quarterback prospect in Michigan by ESPN. After two years at MSU, he transferred to Northern Iowa, where he cracked the school’s top-10 records in single-season passing yards, passing touchdowns, pass completions, completion percentage, pass efficiency and total offense. He earned a bachelor’s degree in human resources and a master’s degree in public policy.

Joshua DeBerry (Warren De La Salle 2019, Boston College and Texas A&M) He led the Pilots on offense and defense to help win the 2018 state football championship. He played fullback and earned all-league honors at Boston College before transferring to Texas A&M, where he was a starting cornerback. He earned a degree in communications at Texas A&M. He is an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys.

Jacob Dobbs (Warren De La Salle 2018, Holy Cross College) He played on the Pilots' 2018 and 2019 state football champions and earned All-State honors. At Holy Cross, he was twice the Patriot League’s “Defensive Player of the Year” and its all-time leader for career tackles and tackles for loss. He was one of only two four-time captains in team history. Jacob is also an Academic All-American. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and religious studies at Holy Cross and will be playing his final season of eligibility at James Madison University.

Antonio Flores (Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 2019, Michigan and Notre Dame) At Brother Rice, “Tito” was a four-time All-Catholic player and four-time varsity letter winner. He excelled as a baseball player at Michigan and, later, at Notre Dame. He was on the All-Big Ten Tournament team twice, once as a designated hitter and once as an outfielder. He was also an All-Academic honoree in the Big Ten as well as a recipient of the Big Ten’s Sportsmanship Award. He is pursuing a Master of Science degree in business analytics.

Jordan Hyde (Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 2020, University of Utah) He was a high-school All-American player who played on two state champion Warriors lacrosse teams. At Utah, he was the Atlantic Sun Conference’s 2024 Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a two-time All-Conference player. He started all 59 games in his four-year career and leaves the school as its record-holder for goals in a game, a season and a career. He majored in psychology and criminology and minored in business and is launching a high school travel lacrosse program.

Joseph Kamish (Novi Detroit Catholic Central 2018 and Loyola University in Maryland) He played on the Shamrocks’ groundbreaking 2018 state champion lacrosse team and earned the “Mr. Lacrosse” Award. At Loyola, he scored 54 goals in 54 games and led his school twice to the Patriot League’s championship game. He also earned recognition multiple times on the Patriot League’s All-Academic Honor Roll. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and a Master of Business Administration last month. He will begin working for an engineering firm this summer.

Mitchell Lowney (Clarkston Everest Collegiate 2019 and Trine University) — At Everest, he played on four regional champion squads, three Catholic League champion squads, and two state champion squads. He was also the medalist at the Division 4 state tournament in 2019. While at Trine, he was a four-time All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association honoree, played on two conference champion teams, and was a two-time team captain. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a focus on golf management. Next month, he takes over as the new head coach of the men’s golf team at Trine University.

Walter Reynolds (University of Detroit Jesuit 2017, Holy Cross College and Ohio University) At U of D Jesuit, he was selected to the All-Catholic and All-State football teams in 2017. At Holy Cross, he was a team captain and played on four Patriot League champion teams. At Ohio University, he used his final season of eligibility as a graduate student and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology and gender studies and is pursuing a master’s degree in food and nutrition sciences. He keeps his hopes alive for a possible career in the NFL.

Jalen Thomas (University of Detroit Jesuit 2016, Georgia State University and Butler University) He was All-Catholic and All-State on the Cubs’ 2016 state basketball championship squad. At Georgia State and Butler, he was a steady 7-points-a-game producer who could fire up the crowd with a timely slam dunk. His career was interrupted briefly by a blood clot in one of his lungs.

Chevonne Wheeler (Dearborn Divine Child 2018 and Eastern Michigan University) She was an All-State track athlete for three years at Divine Child. She excelled, too, at Eastern Michigan, where she ran on the league champion 4x400 relay and earned first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors and the Mid-American Conference’s Medal of Excellence. She was named the female Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2023. She is currently studying physical therapy at Emory University with an eye on earning her doctorate in 2026.

Chloe Woodbeck (Royal Oak Shrine 2019 and Purdue University) — At Shrine, she holds the school record for single-season goals and assists and led the Lady Knights’ 2019 state champion soccer team. She was selected to the 2019 State of Michigan Dream Team and first-team All-State. At Purdue, she was a key piece of the Boilermakers’ soccer defensive success, helping the team to its first-ever listing in the national rankings and its first berth in the NCAA tournament in 13 seasons. She attained Academic All-Big Ten honors three times. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She is also working toward getting a private pilot’s license.

Hall of Fame Coaches and Administrators

Mike Anderson has been the head golf coach at Novi Detroit Catholic Central for 14 seasons and runs one of the top prep programs in the state of Michigan. During his tenure with the Shamrocks, Anderson’s team has won seven Catholic League championships, six regional championships and five state championships — most recently this year.

Nick Kocsis, while overseeing approximately 600 student-athletes and 100 coaches representing 40 teams, has orchestrated and led the resurgence of the University of Detroit Jesuit athletic program to its most successful decade in the school’s 145-year history. In the past 10 years, the Cubs have won three state championships, numerous Catholic League and Detroit city titles, regional and district championships, and Academic All-State teams. He has also partnered in developing the vision, planning and marketing of a $9 million capital campaign that doubled the size of U of D Jesuit’s campus, increasing the school’s facilities’ capacity in a first-of-its-kind community partnership with the city of Detroit.

Jay Lang has been the head bowling coach at De La Salle Collegiate since 2011 and an assistant coach for five seasons prior to that, coaching more than 300 bowlers during that span, including 10 who have continued their careers in college. He coached the Pilots to three regional titles and two Catholic League championships, as well as serving as an assistant on the Pilots’ state championship team in 2006. As a longtime avid bowler, Lang has more than sixty 300 games to his credit.

Michael Lewis has served as an assistant football coach at six Catholic League high schools, one CYO program, and three public high schools. Lewis’ teams have made 18 state playoff appearances, including the 2014 state champion De La Salle squad. The 1980 graduate of Detroit Catholic Central was the Catholic League’s John Shada Award winner in his senior year. Most recently, Lewis has served as defensive coordinator at University of Detroit Jesuit, serving under his son, Matt.

John Nader has served as the top assistant basketball coach at Marine City Cardinal Mooney for 18 seasons, a span that saw the Cardinals play in two Catholic League championship games and win four division titles. The team has also played in one MHSAA state championship game and reached the final four on two occasions. Prior to his time at Cardinal Mooney, Nader was the basketball coach at Warren Immaculate Conception High School until its closure.

Mark Soma has served as the head soccer coach at Royal Oak Shrine, leading the boys program for 24 seasons and the girls’ program for 21. Soma led the Knight boys team to the state semi-finals in 2005 and has won Catholic League titles in 2018 and 2020. On the girls’ side, Shrine has won five Catholic League titles, won a district title last month, and reached the MHSAA Division 4 championship game three times in the past six years — winning the state title in both 2019 and 2022.

Hall of Fame Officials

Tony Ball, in more than 25 years, has officiated three football state finals as well as quarterfinals in basketball and softball, the Operation Friendship basketball games between the Catholic League and Detroit Public Schools champions, and the Catholic League basketball finals.

Paul Woodard, in a career of nearly 30 years, has officiated boys and girls state finals and in several Catholic League championships.

Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].


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