2008 Crowley Award Winner
Dick Fodor, Bridgman
By Larry Sellers, Crowley Award Chair
im Crowley, in whose memory this award is named, was the head coach at Jackson St. John and Jackson Lumen Christi High Schools for seventeen years, during which time his teams compiled a record of 127-34-6, four unbeaten seasons and Class B State Championships in 1977 and ‘79. Jim served the MHSFCA as the Chairman 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 young men took that bit of philosophy to heart and 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.
Dick Fodor, our 2008 Crowley Award recipient, was born in the Upper Peninsula community of Iron River in July of 1947. He attended Iron River schools and graduated from Iron River high School in 1965. He attended Michigan State University and received his teaching degree from MSU in 1969 and his Masters from Western Michigan University in 1975.
While most of our previous Crowley recipients spent their careers at a variety of schools, Dick found a place he loved and stayed there for his entire career, influencing the lives of literally thousands of children and families over his thirty-
four years in the classroom and on the fields, floors and tracks of Bridgman Schools.
During his thirty-four years at Bridgman, Coach Fodor taught middle school science, mathematics, language arts and social studies, was a national tester for science curriculum and an educator of Michigan science teachers. He also was an MEA and NEA representative and did summer work as a school custodian. Certainly his heart and soul was
in the Bridgman community.
As busy as he was inside the school setting he began to help the junior high football, track and basketball programs and then became the defensive coordinator for the high school football program while becoming the varsity track coach for the next twenty-four years and stayed on as the junior high basketball coach for the next fifteen years.
In 1981 Coach Fodor became the head football coach at Bridgman High School, retiring from that position in 1990. Ivan Muhlenkamp, the renowned St. Joseph High School coach and also a Crowley recipient, convinced Dick that he was too young to retire from football and talked him into coaching the St. Joseph JV football team for the next ten years. In 2000, Dick once again became the head coach at Bridgman and held that position for the following two years.