For fall sports coaches, practices and games are right around the corner

DETROIT — It might not have felt like it in the sweltering humidity of the gymnasium at Orchard Lake St. Mary's Prep, but CHSL associate director Mike Evoy had a message for the boys and girls fall sports coaches who gathered July 30: “It’s fall. Summer is over.”

For the nearly 80 coaches of football, cross country, soccer, tennis, swimming field hockey, volleyball and golf, it's already time for a change in perspective.

Practices officially begin Aug. 12. Competition starts Aug. 16 for all sports except football, which will kick off Aug. 29.

Here are bits and pieces gleaned from information handed out by CHSL director Vic Michaels and coordinator Brandon Malinowski, and from conversations around the room:

Sunday 'practice' at Cardinal Mooney

Joe Quesnelle has been coaching on the gridiron sidelines in the CHSL for more than four decades, going back to 1986.

Before he took on the head job at Marine City Cardinal Mooney last year, he was an assistant coach at Harper Woods Bishop Gallagher, Harper Woods Notre Dame, and Royal Oak Shrine, and head coach at Detroit Holy Redeemer.

He said he’s going to repeat a Sunday “practice” he introduced last year, an idea he picked up from John Goddard at Shrine and George Sahadi at Bishop Gallagher: having the team attend Mass every Sunday during the football season together at a different parish.

He's already got an itinerary in mind: St. Patrick in Port Huron, St. Mary in St. Clair, Holy Cross in Marine City, Immaculate Conception in Anchorville, St. Mary Queen of Creation in New Baltimore, St. Peter in Mt. Clemens, and St. Christopher in Marysville.

“It’s considered a practice, so it’s mandatory,” Quesnelle said. “The kids and parents have picked up on it.”

Why is he doing this? “We’re Catholic!” he exclaimed. “We give glory to God and thank Him for our blessings.”

The Cardinals registered only one victory in nine contests last year. “I cried along with the kids when we lost the last game by two points,” he said.

He’s encouraged by the enthusiasm of players in the weight room and by a larger turnout, some two dozen compared with 17 or 18 players a year ago. “They’re working hard and they’re having fun.”

Rosary at Ford Field — All of the CHSL’s fall sports teams will assemble en masse at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 19, for the annual Rosary Rally at Ford Field. No admission; just bring your beads.

Video review — Video review will be allowed only at the MHSAA football finals with limited provisions for scoring/potential scoring plays and turnovers/potential turnovers.

No cellphones in golf — In golf, use of cellphones is allowed by players in four specific circumstances: health and safety issues, inputting scores, contacting a rules official, and use as a distance-measuring device.

Transfer and sit — The MHSAA announced a sport-specific transfer regulation effective Aug. 1. Summarized, a student will not be eligible for the next season in a sport in which he or she participated at his or her former high school (any level) during the most recent previous school year if he or she transfers to a new school. However, a student would be eligible in sports in which he or she did not participate during the previous or current school year. There are 15 exceptions to the rule dealing mainly with residency.

Recruiting and undue influence — Two pages of the information packet were devoted to the subject of athletic recruiting and undue influence. Some 20 scenarios were presented, beginning with, “Can high school coaches or their representatives …” recruit a student-athlete to attend a high school. The answer to question after question was “No” and “No” and “No” and so forth down the line.

The rule of thumb is, you can’t give special attention or consideration to Johnny All Star that you wouldn’t give to Johnny Honor Student. Treat them the same.

Ejections and sportsmanship — Of course, it’s human that coaches and players — and even parents or spectators — “encourage” officials in the bluntest verbiage to make an appointment with an eye doctor amidst the passion of an intensely fought contest.

Officials have the right to eject the offending parties from the area of play when they cross the line of good sportsmanship.

In a new ruling, the MHSAA has determined that the ejection provision carries over to after the game. When a coach or a student continues his tirade against an official following the conclusion of a game but before the official has left the facility and/or grounds, the official may disqualify the coach or student as if it had occurred during the contest.

Scholarship money available — Michaels and Evoy pleaded with coaches to apply for available scholarships. They mentioned two.

One is the Walter Bazylewicz “The Winning Edge” Football Scholarship Award. The $3,000 scholarship has been awarded for 18 years by the “Winning Edge” Booster Club.

Bazylewicz was a former director of the CHSL as well as a legendary football coach.

Evoy said last year only seven applications were submitted out of 18 schools that play football. The 2018-19 recipient was ReShawn Simmons of Warren De La Salle High School. 

The deadline is Nov. 25. Applications are available at under the “Forms” tab.

The other scholarship is a $1,000 award for college-related expenses provided by the Doris J. and Donald J. Duchene Sr. Foundation.

For several years, the foundation annually has given to the CHSL office $2,000 for each of the 27 high schools in the league. That amounts to $54,000. The schools are asked to give a $1,000 award to one girl and one boy, or in the case of single-ed schools, to two boys or two girls.

Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].