By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Three athletic directors who have provided decades of memory-making opportunities for student-athletes – East Lansing’s Tom Hunt, Troy’s Michael Jolly and Ann Arbor’s Meg Seng – and a member of the media, St. Ignace’s David Latva, who is beloved for documenting those moments, have been named recipients of the MHSAA’s Allen W. Bush Award for 2018.
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 27th year of the award, with selections made by the MHSAA's Representative Council.
“A common theme tying together this class of honorees is how they’ve used various talents to enrich the experiences of Michigan student-athletes,” MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said. “All four have played roles in their own ways, and often without the fanfare their contributions deserve. It is our pleasure to recognize them with Bush Awards.”
Hunt recently announced his retirement after 20 years as an athletic administrator, the last 16 at East Lansing High School after serving at Perry for three years and Lansing Waverly for one. During his tenure, Trojans teams have had success at local and larger levels – the girls basketball, boys golf, boys soccer, boys tennis, and boys and girls track & field teams all won MHSAA Finals championships under his department leadership. In addition to his duties as East Lansing athletic & activities director, he served as the district’s Title IX coordinator.
East Lansing, Waverly and Perry all were frequent MHSAA Tournament hosts at the District, Regional and Semifinal levels under Hunt’s direction. He served on a variety of MHSAA committees, providing input on specific sports, officials, tournament site selection or selection of the MHSAA/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Awards. As part of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) for two decades, Hunt was named Regional Athletic Director of the Year in 2011 and his region’s representative in 2013 and 2015. He also served terms as president of the Capital Area Activities Conference and former Ingham County League.
Hunt previously was a contributing member of the Michigan Recreation & Park Association (MRPA), having served as vice president and state conference chairperson in 1996 as well as athletic committee chairperson and basketball commissioner. Prior to beginning at Perry as athletic director in 1998, Hunt served as assistant director of parks & recreation in Howell, and he was the first boys soccer coach in Howell High School history and coached baseball there as well. He also coached baseball and was an assistant for hockey at East Lansing, and has volunteered over the years as a youth coach for soccer, hockey, softball and baseball. Hunt is a graduate of Michigan State University and Battle Creek St. Philip High School.
“Tom Hunt has set an example of prioritizing students, and not only for encouraging their athletic participation but their development as well-rounded athletes, academic achievers and citizens,” Roberts said. “He is a true professional who embodies the role of athletic director – he leads by this example, yet with many of his contributions unheralded while the programs under his guidance continue to succeed at the highest levels.”
Jolly also is retiring, with nearly three decades in administration. He took over as District Athletic Director in Troy in August 2004 after previously serving four years as assistant principal/athletic director and then four as principal at Boyd Arthurs Middle School in Trenton. He also taught and served as an assistant middle school principal for three years in the New Boston Huron district and taught and then added athletic director duties over two years at Hale. He coached during his first two stops, varsity basketball and softball at Hale and varsity football and track & field at New Boston Huron.
At Troy, Jolly has overseen staff and facilities for two high schools and four middle schools. During his tenure, Troy schools have added skiing and bowling programs as well as non-MHSAA rugby and figure skating, and kept gymnastics available by creating a cooperative program. Under his leadership, the district also has been a frequent host of MHSAA Tournament games at various levels, including Division 1 Football Semifinals 14 consecutive seasons. Jolly served as the chairperson of the Oakland Activities Association football committee for 12 years and as league president in 2008-09, and he was president of the Oakland County Athletic Directors Association in 2009-10 and was named its Athletic Director of the Year in 2012. He also served as director of the Troy district’s K-12 physical education and career technical education departments and as director of enrichment for the district. He served as president of the Oakland Career & Technical Educators Association in 2015-16.
After graduating from Southgate Aquinas High School, Jolly earned his bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan and a master’s from Central Michigan University. He played football for the Wolverines and then for four seasons for the Green Bay Packers. He is a member of both the MIAAA and National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA).
“From his contributions in athletics to his many outside of athletics as well, Mike Jolly continuously has shown himself to be an advocate for students and their education,” Roberts said. “His various duties alone are evidence of that commitment – as are the extra steps he’s always quick to take when needed and the mentorship he’s provided to those who are following in his path.”
Seng completed her 28th year at Greenhills School and has served as the athletic director the last 15 after 13 teaching physical education and health. She has hosted MHSAA tournament events in various sports at various levels and served on a variety of MHSAA committees and the Multi-Sport Participation Task Force. She also is an instructor for the MHSAA Coaches Advancement Program and has served as part of the MIAAA’s Leadership Academy faculty since 2011, and on the NIAAA’s certification committee since 2014. She completed a term as the MIAAA’s Executive Board president in 2013-14.
After graduating from Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Ill., Seng played both volleyball and softball at Indiana University and then coached at the college level before taking over the Ann Arbor Huron volleyball program in 1985. Over 12 seasons stretching two tenures, Seng led her team to five league titles and a District championship in 1993. She also served as Huron's co-head varsity softball coach from 1986-90. Seng completed her teacher certification at Eastern Michigan University in 1990 and began teaching at Greenhills that year, later coaching that school’s varsity volleyball team from 1993-2000.
Seng received the MIAAA Jack Johnson Distinguished Service Award in 2012 and her region’s Athletic Director of the Year Award in 2008. She also received the Pathfinder Award in 2004 from the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports (NAGWS), and under her leadership Greenhills received the Exemplary Athletic Program Award from the MIAAA in 2017. She was honored with the Girl Scouts’ Leaders and Best Award in 2005 and most recently selected for the MHSAA’s 31st Women In Sports Leadership Award this past February.
“Meg Seng understands the needs at every level of sport, having participated as a successful athlete, coach and now administrator,” Roberts said. “It is impossible to not admire her vision as she not only leads the Greenhills athletic department but teaches her peers how to recognize and provide for those needs.”
Retired journalist David Latva dedicated 30 years to chronicling the achievements of high school athletes. A St. Ignace graduate, Latva went on to report as the lead sportswriter for the St. Ignace News from 1987-2016 covering communities in the eastern Upper Peninsula. He was a member of the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association from 1989-2017 and served on the board of the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame from 2008-16. He also was a frequent Upper Peninsula representative on The Associated Press’ all-state selection committees.
Latva’s contributions to schools reached past sports writing. He was a registered MHSAA official for basketball (19 seasons), football (18) and track & field (18) during the 1970s and 1980s, and served eight years on the St. Ignace Area Schools Board of Education. He also coached the St. Ignace golf team for three years.
Latva was named to the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan media Hall of Honor in 2005 and received a Distinguished Service Award from the St. Ignace LaSalle High School Hall of Fame in 2012. He received a key to the city from the St. Ignace City Council in 2016 and has been recognized in various ways by other communities in his paper’s coverage area.
“Many who have played school sports in the eastern Upper Peninsula have been impacted by David Latva because of the importance he placed on his local athletes’ achievements, both great and small,” Roberts said. “As the chronicler of those achievements, David has cemented a permanent place in favorite memories for many whose stories he told over the years, and he earned a significant role in those communities by sharing that gift.”