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 25th year of the award, with selections made by the MHSAA's Representative Council.
“This year’s three Bush Award winners are tied by their dedication to working with our student-athletes on a day-to-day basis over the course of decades, providing guidance that in turn has been spread throughout their local and sport communities,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA. “We are grateful for their service and pleased to honor them with the Bush Award.”
The Region 9 Athletic Director of the Year in 2007, VanKuiken was elected to the MIAAA Executive Board in 2005 and served as president during the 2007-08 school year. She helped produce a “Critical Incident Plans” DVD for the association to assist administrators statewide and created the first strategic plan for the MIAAA during her term as president. She received the MIAAA’s George Lovich Service Award in 2011.
VanKuiken also has served on the board of directors for The Academy of Sports Leadership, which plans and organizes camps for future coaches every summer in Ann Arbor, and is a member of the NIAAA, serving on its endowment committee. After a three-sport career at Lansing Sexton, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Central Michigan University and played field hockey collegiately, and she’s attained Certified Master Athletic Administrator status from the NIAAA. She received the MHSAA’s Women in Sports Leadership Award in 2009.
“Deb VanKuiken’s work shows she always has the athlete in mind, from the opportunities she’s worked to add through new programs at her school to the programs she’s initiated as a leader of the MIAAA,” Roberts said. “Her vision continues to benefit all groups she serves, not only athletes, but coaches and administrators as well. We’re pleased to recognize her with the Bush Award.”
We are honored and proud to have Deb such an important part of the Flint Metro League. Congratulations!