2011 Jim Crowley Award Winner
MHSFCA Top Award for 2011
Chuck Ritter, Ann Arbor Pioneer
Crowley Award Winner
by Larry Sellars, Crowley Award Chair
Jim Crowley was the head coach at Jackson St. John and Jackson Lumen Christi High Schools for seventeen years. His teams compiled a record of 127-34-6, had four unbeaten seasons and Class B State Championships in 1977 and ‘79. Jim served the MHSFCA as the first Chair of the Public Relations Committee.
Jim Crowley stressed having fun, working hard, and being dedicated to his young athletes. He often said, “If you don’t have fun playing football, it isn’t worth the time and effort you put into it.” Coach Crowley’s teams had a great deal of success, not only on the football field but later in life as well. Coach Crowley was shot and killed in his own driveway just two months after the 1979 State football finals.
Jim Crowley was a good football coach and a valuable member of the MHSFCA. We remember that and recognize Jim’s contributions to football in Michigan with our annual award in his name.
Chuck Ritter attended the inaugural meeting of the MHSFCA in 1972 and has missed not more then 2 or 3 meetings since. He became a member of the Hall of Fame committee at its inception and is the current chair of the committee. Ron Holland and our recipient set up and organized the original Hall of Fame in the Schembechler building on the U of M campus. That Hall of Fame has been in storage for several years as our association has looked for a permanent home for it. Coach Ritter has been the liaison between our organization and the U of M and was instrumental in finally getting a Wall of Fame in the new structure on the eastside of the stadium this fall.
Chuck has been key in making arrangements with the U of M to host three All Star games when MSU was not available. He has also set up the facilities for the leadership conferences which were held in Crisler Arena when the All Star games were held at The Big House. It was Chuck who negotiated with the University each year for a location for the Hall of Fame induction and, when we decided to move off campus, it was Chuck who found a venue.
Chuck Ritter is a 1950 graduate of Cassopolis High School. While there he lettered in football, basketball and baseball for all four years and captained the football and basketball teams as a junior and senior. He was president of his junior class, Valedictorian of his graduating class and was an Eagle Scout. He attended the University of Michigan where he lettered in football, and received the Fielding Yost award for the athlete which best combined athletics and scholarship his senior year, as well as having the highest GPA as a senior. He graduated in 1954 with a BA in science and majors in mathematics and physical education. In 1955 Chuck began a 40 year teaching career at Ann Arbor High School. While there he coached football for 25 years at the junior varsity or varsity level, including 13 years as the head coach. During his tenure as head coach his teams won three league titles. He also was the head basketball coach for two seasons.
In 1980 Chuck became a graduate assistant/volunteer coach with the University of Michigan under Bo Schembechler. He became the Athletic Director of Pioneer High School in 1986. During the next five years Pioneer won 18 State Championships in various sports to further establish its status as one of the most successful and competitive schools in the State of Michigan.
Chuck Ritter was inducted into the MHSFCA Hall of Fame in 1983, the MHSCA Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Pioneer High School Hall of Fame in 2008. He is a member of the Rotary Club of America, MEAR and, of course, the MHSFCA.