History of the MHSFCA
(Special thanks to Dick Harris, Bob Scheloske, Jeff Smith, and Jack Carlson for their help in the researching of this material)
The first meeting of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) took place on Friday, March 24, 1972. At this meeting, not only was the MHSFCA founded, but it established 7 objectives for itself.
To provide scholarships and awards to outstanding student football players and outstanding football coaches statewide in order to promote the advancement of excellence in football and athletic competition.
To provide educational resources and training seminars for football coaches on a regular basis and to instruct individuals in meeting the challenges of coaching football.
To provide student football players with leadership training and instruction with respect to improving or developing their capabilities.
To foster and promote statewide high school football competition, play-off series and division championships.
To participate in rule making processes affecting football coaches within the state, to advise them of rule making developments, and generally to promote the highest possible professional standards in the coaching of football for the public good.
To cooperate with the state Athletic Board of Control and the Michigan High School Athletic Association to work for the betterment and growth of football in Michigan, and in particular, to strengthen schools and educational institutions state wide through the provision of athletic program.
To promote a harmonious relationship among all coaches in amateur athletics.
Later that year, the Association held its first football clinic at Jackson Parkside High School. The first 8 clinics were hosted at high schools because the Association couldn’t afford to have the clinic hosted at hotels and convention centers. The plan was to feature high school coaches as the main speakers rather than college coaches. Also at this clinic, the first Board of Director’s election took place. The first president was David Driscoll, the Head Football Coach at Jackson Parkside High School. Coach Driscoll was the only president to serve two terms.
In 1973, the Board of Directors established the Honorary Membership Award to recognize people in our communities that donate time and talent to help their local football programs.
One of the first items on the Association’s agenda was to work with the MHSAA and develop a playoff system. This took several years as the MHSAA was not originally in favor of a playoff system in football.
The following excerpt was taken from Dick Harris’ acceptance speech when he was awarded the Association’s Jim Crowley Award
“In the early years of the Association our Summer meeting was held at the Remington Hunt Club outside of Alpena. The main issue once again would be the playoffs. Just before the meeting was to begin Curt Smith showed up. I recognized him because he had been a teammate of mine on the Flint junior College baseball team. I asked him why he was here and he said he was the sportscaster at the Alpena television station and that he heard we were meeting here and that he would like to cover the meeting and report on it on his late sports report. President Driscoll gave him permission. He set up his camera and went to work. During the playoff discussion, Dutch Schrotenboer (Alpena’s Head Coach at the time) mentioned that while he was in Lansing to discuss a possible playoff with the MHSAA, that the hockey coaches were there attemping to get hockey sanctioned as a MHSAA sort, and that they had brought a lawyer with them. He then said that he has since heard that hockey is now an MHSAA sport. Jokingly, one of the Directors said that maybe we should try litigation to get a playoff. That night, when Curt Smith did his sports report in Alpena, he said; “It looks like the MHSFCA is going to use litigation to get a playoff.” That word spread across the state and it was not long until the MHSFCA and the MHSAA were working on a playoff system.”
Together, the MHSFCA and MHSAA put together a point system to determine what teams would qualify for the playoffs. Statistics were kept in 1973 to determine would qualify if a playoff was held and to work out any problems that were found in the system. In 1974 the official paper playoff was held and the first actual playoff took place in 1975. The state was divided into four regionsand one team in Class A, B, C, and D were chosen from each region. With only four teams in each class, the tournament began with the semi-final round. In 1975, Hudson High School set a then national record for consecutive wins when they beat Kalamazoo Hackett High School in the semi-final round. The next week, in the first Class C final game held at Central Michigan University, Hudson’s 72 game winning streak was snapped when they were defeated by Ishpeming. In 1976 Hudson again went 9 and – in the regular season but didn’t have enough points to qualify for the tournament. Since that time, the tournament has been expanded several times and at present we now have 256 teams in the 5 week tournament.
In 1981, the Jim Crowley Award was presented to the Association’s first president, Dave Driscoll. Also, in the summer of 1981, the first Michigan High School All Star game was held to showcase Michigan’s best senior football players. This game was mostly held at Michigan State University, with a couple of years at the University of Michigan, and Central Michigan University.
In 1982, the MHSFCA Hall of Fame was established, with the original founders of the Association were the first class inducted. At that time, the Spring meeting for the Association was held in conjunction with the University of Michigan Spring Football Clinic, and it was there that Michigan’s Head Football Coach, Bo Schemblecher, said “this is too great of an honor to be given at a clinic”. He then offered the U of M facilities to hold a formal Hall of Fame Banquet. The first formal Hall of Fame Banquet was held at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor in 1983. Coach Schemblecher attended that banquet and brought in Ohio State’s Woody Hayes as the guest speaker.
In 1984, the Board of Directors wanted to recognize the fact that assistant coaches were the backbone of our programs, established the Assistant Coach of the Year Award.
In 1987, Academic All State was established to honor those young men who excelled in the classroom as well as on the football field.
In 1991, the Terry Rose Memorial Scholarship was given for the first time.
In 1992, the Association introduced the Steve Spicer Leadership Award.
In 2007, the Association introduced the Fran Herrington Award to honor women for their services to the MHSFCA.