1995 Jim Crowley Award Winner
All Star Game Chair, Second V.P., Receives Jim Crowley Award Presented to Long time Muskegon Area Coach, teacher and MHSFCA leader,
By Larry Sellers, Crowley Award Chair, Traverse City St. Francis
Have fun, play hard, be dedicated to doing your best.” These were the challenges put forth to his athletes by the late Jim Crowley, in whose memory the MHSFCA presents the “Jim Crowley Award.” Coach Crowley guided the football fortunes of Jackson St. John and Jackson Lumen Christi High Schools for 17 years, including two state championship teams in 1977 and 1979, until his tragic death in early 1980 at the age of 45. As is our 1995 recipient, Coach Crowley was a fine coach who was active in our organization, a dedicated family man, and committed not only to his family, team and school, but also to making his community a better place in which to live.
Our 1995 recipient of the Jim Crowley Award, Larry Rueger, graduated from Francis J. Reitz High School in Evansville, Indiana and attended Murray State University, graduating in 1966 with a Bachelor’ s Degree in Music Education. In 1966 Larry moved from Evans- ville, Indiana, to Muskegon where he taught vocal music at Muskegon Heights High School for three years before getting a job in the Muskegon Mona Shores District in vocal music. He has been with the Mona Shores district for the past 26 years.
Our recipient’s 28 year coaching career includes two years at Muskegon Heights, 17 at Mona Shores (including nine seasons as head coach), one year as a varsity assistant in the highly successful Muskegon High School Big Red program and at Fruitport High School for the past six seasons.
Coach Rueger has been very active in our organization, serving as a Regional Director from 1976-90, All Star Game Day Director from the inception of the All Star Game, All Star Chairman since 1990, Head Coach of the West All Star Team in 1990, and currently is the 1st Vice President of the MHSFCA. He was recognized for his work as a coach with an Assistant Coach of the Year Award in 1993.
Our recipient is active in his church and community. He has been the choir director in his church for the past 29 years, is an active Shriner in Saladin Temple of Grand Rapids, was Shriner of the Year in 1991, and is Director of the Saladin Chanters who have won 1st place in International Competition for the last four years.
Coach Larry Rueger’s pregame talks as head coach would invariably end with the words, “let’s have some fun out there.” It was his philosophy that if you weren’t having fun, then all the hard work and preparation would be just that – hard work. Certainly this gentleman, whose real passion is “kids”, has been able to “connect” with thousands of young men and women, whether it be in music or in football and help them to achieve their best.
I’m certain that our recipient’s wife of 29 years, Connie, children Kimberly and Tara Jo, mother and sister, former players and special friends are as proud as I am to announce Larry Rueger as the 1995 Jim Crowley Award winner.