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EAST LANSING, Mich.  – Dec. 10 –  A leader as an educator and an official with over 30 years of service to the school community, Dr. Thomas C. Smith of Escanaba has been named the recipient of the Michigan High School Athletic Association's Allen W. Bush Award for 2009. 
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 17th year of the award, with the selections being made by the MHSAA's Representative Council.
Smith retired in the summer after 34 years with Escanaba Area Public Schools, the last 17 as superintendent.  In addition to his many duties as a superintendent, Smith was a member of the MHSAA’s Upper Peninsula Athletic  Committee and a Michigan Association of School Administrators regional president.
He also made major contributions to educational athletics between the lines as a registered game official for 38 years in basketball and football, working MHSAA Finals and serving as a rules meeting presenter in both sports. 
In the community, Smith has served as a finance committee member at Bethany Lutheran church, and a presenter for the local Delta Force Community Leadership Team, which is designed to mentor up-and-coming community leaders in Delta County.
“Tom Smith has been an impressive leader on several fronts that directly impact our youth,” says John E. “Jack” Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA.  “He has served his school district and the educational athletics community well.  We’re especially grateful for the leadership he provided in the Upper Peninsula as a rules interpreter and meeting presenter; and are delighted to honor him with the Bush Award.”

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by over 1,600 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 approximately 1.6 million spectators each year.


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