Turn Back the Clock: Sacred Heart Caps off Perfect 1967 Season with First State Title

MISportsNow is turning back the clock and looking back at some of northern Michigan’s greatest high school boys basketball teams. The series features interviews from past coaches and players, as well as highlights from the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s archives. This is the second in a multi-part series.

Led by coach Bob Utterback, Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart won its first boys basketball state championship and capped off a 25-0 season with a win in the 1967 MHSAA Class C title game.

Facing a Detroit All Saints program that was making its first of two consecutive state finals appearances, Sacred Heart pulled away from a one-point halftime lead en route to a 66-53 victory for its first state title.

Mark Simons, Mike Hackett and Mick Natzel combined for 45 points in the win as the Irish were making their fourth Final Four appearance in program history.

“It was surreal,” Natzel said. “You kind of think about those moments and you have to try to slow things down a little bit so you can really appreciate it.”

Under Utterback’s guidance, the Irish went 82-5 from 1964-68.

“They literally, literally painted Main Street green. They painted a green stripe down the middle of Main Street after the state championship,” Simons said.

Simons and Hackett would go on to play basketball collegiately, with Simons enjoying a 35-year-plus coaching career at the collegiate and professional levels. Natzel would later star on the gridiron and Northern Michigan and Central Michigan and would have a brief stint with the Oakland Raiders before injuries ended his professional career.

The Irish would go on to win the 1975 MHSAA Class D state championship with a victory over Allendale and reached the 2006 title game.

Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart’s Road to the 1967 Finals
Coleman, 98-50 – District
Shepherd, 62-32 – District Final
Saginaw St. Stephen, 68-61 – Regional
Merrill, 102-57 – Regional
North Branch, 88-68 – Regional Final
Shelby, 72-53 – Quarterfinal
Wakefield, 56-55 – Semifinal
Detroit All Saints, 66-53 – Final

To view more highlights from the 1967 MHSAA Class C state final, visit here.

Categories: Boys Basketball