skip navigation

History of the MHSCA

The MHSCA has it’s beginning back in the summer of 1954 when approximately 50 coaches from various parts of the state met during the Annual Coaching School at Central Michigan College (CMU today) in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. This group under the direction of Paul Smarks decided to try to form a State High School Coaching Association. Paul was directed by this group to gather facts regarding such organizations in other states and to bring his findings back to the summer coaching school in 1955. Paul did his homework and 150 coaches met the following summer and formed the MHSCA. 

The first major work of the Association was the writing of the constitution, by-laws, and purpose. Paul Smarks was elected as the charter President, Bob Hayes of Port Huron was the charter Vice-President and Bob Fowler of Port Huron was appointed Secretary-Treasurer.

Early on the Association felt the need for an organization to officially represent the high school coaches of the state both within the schools and to the Representative Council which is the policy making body of the Michigan High School Athletic Association. A need was also seen for a group to represent the coaches of Michigan nationally and with other state associations. So the MHSCA is a group of coaches representing all the coaches in the state.

The mission of the MHSCA has not changed all that much since the early days of the association. Today they are approximately 12,000 members representing all the different sports in which the  MHSAA conducts tournaments. The MHSCA maintains affiliation with the National Federation High School Association and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. Since the founding of the MHSCA in 1955, different sport groups have formed their own sport specific association and the MHSCA has become sort of the umbrella under which these different sport groups fall. Membership in the MHSCA comes mainly from the sport constituent association at a reduced rate. There are also individual memberships and life memberships. When a coach becomes a member of their sport specific group, they also get membership in the MHSCA and the NHSACA. 

The MHSCA Hall of Fame originally was the idea of Brick Fowler, who felt that some recognition should be given to people who had served many years in the coaching field. This idea was adopted and the first class of the MHSCA Hall of Fame was inducted in 1957. In 1962, a Hall of Fame Room was established in Win Schuler’s Restaurant in Marshall. Through the generosity of the Paul Smarks estate, the Hall of Fame Room was moved to Bovee Student Services Center (Student Union) on the campus of CMU in 1971. The Hall was moved to a room in the Student Activities Center (SAC) adjacent to the Rose Arena in 1996. The Hall eventually out grew that space (too many plaques and not enough wall space) and was moved again in 2014 to a hallway of the SAC that is the entrance and exit closest to the parking lot of the entire SAC and Rose Arena complex. So this most recent edition of the MHSCA Hall of Fame is truly a HALL of Fame. It features a gigantic wall mural which features athletes and coaches in competition. Also, instead of the wall plaques, the new HOF also features a computer kiosk on which will be pictures of all of the inductees of the members of the Hall. The members can be looked up by name, their year of induction and their community or school. With the class of 2015, we will have almost 700 members. 

Qualifications for membership in the Hall of Fame are as follows; one must have served a minimum of 20 years in high school sports with a minimum of ten years in Michigan, and must have exemplified high standards of performance and service to his/her sport, school, community, state and affiliated organizations. A coach has to be nominated for this honor by another member of the MHSCA and then a committee goes through the list of nominees each year to come up with a list of up to 15 coaches that are forwarded to the MHSCA Board of Directors each for their approval.