Karen Leinaar

Title IX at 50: Council Term Ends, But Leinaar Leaves Lasting Impact

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Athletic Directors


December 7, 2021

Karen Leinaar won’t be retiring from Michigan’s school sports community any time soon – and that’s good news for the hundreds of thousands of athletes, coaches, administrators, officials and more who have benefitted from her work for nearly 40 years.

But Leinaar’s role is changing somewhat, as Friday she completed her final term on the MHSAA’s Representative Council, ending a tenure that began during the 2000-01 school year.

Leinaar has served as one of the two statewide at-large representatives on the Council. She did retire earlier this year as athletic director at Bear Lake schools, the last stop of an athletic administration career that began in 1982 at her alma mater Delton Kellogg and included tenures at Gaylord and Benzie Central.

Leinaar’s variety of experiences and connections all over the state have sourced her “global” viewpoint when working to make the best decisions for MHSAA member schools. And she has been a continuous source of support and Council representation at a multitude of MHSAA championship events, whether taking a role in helping put them on or awarding medals and trophies to champions hailing from all over the state.

Thankfully, her impact will remain significant – Leinaar now serves as executive director of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, the professional organization for school sports administrators in our state.

Leinaar received the MHSAA’s Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998, a Citation from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in 2000, and she was named MIAAA Athletic Director of the Year in 2001. From 2009-13, she also served on the NFHS Board of Directors.  

Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.

Previous Title IX at 50 Spotlights

Nov. 30: Basketball Season Ready to Add to Rich Tradition - Read
Nov. 23: 
Marysville Builds Winning Streak Yet to be Challenged - Read
Nov. 16: Wroubel Has Championed Girls School Sports from Their Start - Read
Nov. 9: Pioneer's Joyce Legendary in Michigan, National Swim History - Read
Nov. 2: Royal Oak's Finch Leading Way on Football Field - Read
Oct. 26: Coach Clegg Sets Championship Standard at Grand Blanc - Read
Oct. 19: Rockford Girls Set Pace, Hundreds After Have Continued to Chase - Read
Oct. 12: 
Bedford Volleyball Pioneer Continues Blazing Record-Setting Trail - Read
Oct. 5: 
Warner Paved Way to Legend Status with Record Rounds - Read
Sept. 28: Taylor Kennedy Gymnasts Earn Fame as 1st Champions - Read
Sept. 21: 
Portage Northern Star Byington Becomes Play-by-Play Pioneer - Read
Sept. 14: 
Guerra/Groat Legacy Continues to Serve St. Philip Well - Read
Sept. 7: 
Best-Ever Conversation Must Include Leland's Glass - Read
Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read

(MHSAA file photos.)