Detroit’s Vic Michaels, Novi’s Brian Gordon, Bronson’s Jean LaClair and Portland’s Kevin Veale all have impacted high school students as teachers, coaches and administrators over decades in their respectively communities. To honor their often unsung work in creating athletic opportunities, all four have been named recipients of the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Allen W. Bush Award for 2019.
Al Bush served as executive director of the MHSAA for 10 years. The award honors individuals for past and continuing service to prep athletics as a coach, administrator, official, trainer, doctor or member of the media. The award was developed to bring recognition to men and women who are giving and serving without a lot of attention. This is the 28th year of the award, with selections made by the MHSAA's Representative Council.
“The Bush Award was created to recognize the frequent behind-the-scenes efforts that go into creating worthwhile experiences for Michigan high school athletes. But it’s impossible to not see the impacts this year’s honorees have made in their communities,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “We are pleased to honor them and celebrate their work in promoting educational athletics and all of its benefits.”
Veale is completing his 19th year as Portland Public Schools athletic director after previously teaching and serving as the girls track & field coach and as a football assistant at the high school. He has initiated a variety of efforts during his two decades in the district, founding the high school’s coaches association, captains’ club and athletic Hall of Fame among sports-related endeavors. He also has served as a volunteer coach for local recreation teams and given his time to assist in various community events. But his influence has stretched as well to league, regional and statewide levels.
Veale has served in leadership roles in multiple leagues over his tenure, as executive secretary for the Ingham County League in 2001-02 and then president of the Capital Area Activities Conference in 2008-09. He’s hosted at Portland more than 100 MHSAA postseason events from the District-Quarterfinal levels, while also serving on multiple MHSAA committees including assisting in selection of MHSAA/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Award winners. He served as membership committee chairperson for the MIAAA in 2005-06 and has been part of its scholarship committee since 2008.
Veale graduated from Iron Mountain High School and earned bachelor and master’s degrees from Central Michigan University, the latter in athletic administration. He also has achieved CAA designation and was named an MIAAA Regional Athletic Director of the Year in 2010.
“Kevin has really become the face of Portland Raiders athletics after 19 years in that community,” Uyl said. “He brings a great deal of positivity and high energy to the job every day. His teams have had great success, and he’s another administrator who sees all programs being equally important.”
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.
Image from PPS Web Site.