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Distinguished Service Award


John Harrington

The year was 1962. John Herrington, a wide-eyed, enthusiastic lover of the game of football was hired by Ron Holland, at North Farmington High School, as a member of his staff and served as the Head JV Coach under Coach Holland from 1962-1969. When a new school opened in Farmington in 1970, our John became the first head coach at Farmington Hills Harrison High School, whose teams were called the Hawks. They must like him at Harrison because he is the only Head Football Coach in the history of the school, having recently completed his thirty-third year at the helm. Exactly what factors have allowed him to last so long at the same school?

• The Hawks have won a record 13 state championships while Herrington has compiled a mind-boggling 430-106-1 record. Maybe more impressive is his 87-19 record in state playoff games. A perennial power, Harrison has won a record 13 football state championships: 1981-82, 1988-89, 1991, 1993-94, 1997-99, 2000-01 and 2010.Herrington is proud to be nearing the record, but he says he was most pleased that Harrison had fewer than 100 losses until a couple years ago.

• His accolades: Along with being named a MHSFCA regional coach and state coach of the year on numerous occasions, he was inducted into our organization’s Hall of Fame in 1986, the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1997, The National Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998, The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 - only the third Michigan High School Coach to be selected to that august body, and was selected as the National Football Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association, also in 2001.

• His passion and love for working in the classroom as a social studies teacher.

• The longtime support of his family, beginning with Fran, his wife, lover, and best friend, who was tragically struck down by cancer in 2001; his daughter Leisa and son Layne.

• His humility as the successes and accolades have mounted: He has served the MHSFCA for over 20 years as its Public Relations Committee Chairman; during that time he has several times been asked to serve as an officer but has decided to remain in his current position.

• His willingness to sit down with coaches of all ages to talk about the game he so dearly loves.

On the Farmington Hills Harrison Hawk Football stationery, you can find the slogan "Where champions are made and success is traditional." Indeed it is and that is why Harrison is considered, and probably not too arguably, the premier football program in the State of Michigan and among the best in the country! 



Mike Jolly

Michael Jolly has been involved with Michigan student-athletes and coaches for 52 years. He has had a positive impact on student-athletes and coaches through his coaching, and through his membership and leadership on several athletic committees. In recognition of his efforts, he has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the National High School Association for the Coaches Athletics Distinguished Service Award.

     Throughout his career Jolly has served as head coach and as an assistant coach in Football, was an assistant coach in Basketball and Baseball, was a head coach and assistant coach in Lacrosse, and was a head coach of Clay Target.  In 1994 he led his Lacrosse team to a state championship as head coach. In 2014, serving as an assistant coach, he helped lead his Football team to a state championship.  Jolly has been a three time national finalist for Coach of the Year and in 2011 was NHSACA National assistant coach of the year.

     For the past 29 years (1994 – present) Jolly has served as an Executive Board member for the Michigan High School Coaches Association. He has been the Sports Representative for Lacrosse for 29 years, served as President from 1995 – 1996 and held the Vice Presidency for the preceding years. He has also been a member of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee for approximately 20 years, and has been the Chairman of Coaching Service awards since 2015. He was the Michigan High School Coaches Association Lacrosse Coach of the Year in 1993, received the Distinguished Service Award in 2010, received the 50 Year Coaching Award, and has been inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.

     Jolly has been an active leader in the Catholic High School League.  He has been a member of the Scholar-Athlete-Leader Committee for the past 23 years (1994-present).  He is an Awards Presenter and is Co-Founder of Boys Lacrosse in 1996.  For the past 21 years, Jolly has been the CHSL Lacrosse Coordinator (1996-present). He also serves as the TV color commentator for Lacrosse championship games. In 2004 Jolly was selected as Athletic Director of the Year. He has also received his 35 Year Longevity Award, has been inducted into the CHSL Hall of Fame, and the Lacrosse Student-Athlete-Leader award has been named the “Mike Jolly Award.”

     Over the past 23 years Jolly has served on various committees for the Michigan High School Athletic Association. He has been one of two permanent advisors to the Lacrosse Committee since 2004.  He has also been an active member of the Macomb Count Athletic Directors Association for the past 23 years, serving as a Hall of Fame Committee member and selector from its inception in 1994 to the present.  In 2001 he was inducted into the Macomb County Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame.

     As a member of the Fellowship of Christion Athletes Jolly has been a Huddle Leader and Camp Moderator for the past 21 years (1996-present).  He has also been a Fund Raiser and Trip Leader for 18 years (2000-present) for the Gettysburg FCA Summer Camp.  In 2017 he was awarded the Peter Kohn Award for Service – “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty”.

     As a 35 year member of the Michigan Scholastic Lacrosse Association and Michigan High School Lacrosse Coaches Association, Jolly has served as President (1987-1989), Treasurer from 2007 to the present, has been as Executive Board Member for 30 years (1987 – present), has been Chairman of the Hall of Fame Site Development Committee since 2015, and has been Chairman of the Coach of the Year Selection Committee for the past 25 years (1989 – present). He was named Coach of the Year in1989 and1994, was named Assistant Coach of the Year in 2008, and in 1985,1996 and 1999 he was named Man of the Year.

     Jolly has also been involved with U.S. Lacrosse – the National Governing Body for Lacrosse.  He served as an Editorial Board Member of Lacrosse magazine for 17 years (1990 – 2007), was a member of the High School Coaches Council for 12 years (1989 – 2000), was Vice President of the National Interscholastic Lacrosse Association High School Division (1996 – 1998), served as National Hall of Fame Selector for 11 years (1998 – 2008),  was Director of the National N-S All Star Games for 3 years (1997 – 1999), and was the National CEP Presenting Clinician – Level I for 5 years (2012 – present). In 2000 he was name Man of the Year and in 2012 he received the Gerald J. Carroll, Jr. Exemplary Coaching Award.

     As a member of  U.S. Lacrosse – Michigan Chapter Jolly served as President (1990 -1992), was a Board Member for 11 years, has been a High School All-Star Game Manager or Assistant Manager for 10 years and has been a Hall of Fame Site Development Chair for 3 years (2014 – present).  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.

     Jolly was also the De LaSalle Program Founder for the Scholastic Clay Target Program in 2005.  He has been Head coach and Program Moderator for 12 years (2005 – 2017).



Gina Mazzolini 

Retiring MHSAA assistant director Gina Mazzolini has served Michigan high school student-athletes for more than 30 years in ways that will continue to impact schools and athletes for years to come. In recognition of her efforts, she has been named the 2016 recipient of the Michigan High School Coaches Association Distinguished Service Award.

Mazzolini has served the MHSAA since 1993 and is the administrator for girls volleyball, swimming and diving, alpine skiing and tennis. She also handles the sanctioning of out-of-state competitions and serves as the MHSAA’s point person on foreign exchange and international student issues. Mazzolini received a Citation from the National Federation of State High School Associations this past summer and was the 2010 recipient of the MHSAA’s Women in Sports Leadership Award.

“Gina Mazzolini has contributed to Michigan high school athletics on a variety of levels providing vision, leadership and dedication,” MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said. “Gina Mazzolini has shaped rules and policies that have impacted programs not only in our state, but nationally as well.”

After standout basketball and volleyball careers at St. Johns High School and Central Michigan University, Mazzolini taught and coached multiple sports during the 1979-80 school year at Ovid-Elsie High School. She then spent two years teaching and serving as an assistant volleyball coach at Michigan State University, where she also earned her master’s degree in physical education.
“It’s one of those things where I’ve worked in this position because I loved doing it,” Mazzolini said. “I enjoyed working with the adult coaches and adult officials, and then the student-athletes. I’m appreciative and humbled. You do those things because you enjoy them.”

In addition to her work at the MHSAA, Mazzolini has provided a long list of contributions at the national level. She has served as the NFHS representative on the board for the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel, which identifies, promotes and supports international youth exchange programs, and has sat on several CSIET committees. She’s currently serving on the NFHS Annual Meeting Planning Committee and also has served on NFHS rules committees for soccer, swimming and diving, and volleyball (chairing that sport’s rules committee from 2004-08), and on NFHS advisory committees for athletic directors and sports medicine.

She recently was inducted into the Michigan High School Ski Coaches Association Hall of Fame and will be inducted into the inaugural St. John's High School Hall of Fame and was inducted into the CMU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.