St. Ignace’s Ingalls Named MHSAA Women In Sports Leadership Award Recipient

Longtime St. Ignace girls basketball coach Dorene Ingalls has been named the recipient of the 2021 MHSAA Women In Sports Leadership Award.

The award is presented each year by the MHSAA Representative Council and given to an individual who shows exemplary leadership capabilities and positive contributions to athletics.

In 22 seasons as head coach of the Saints, Ingalls had led St. Ignace to a 464-80 record and currently ranks 18th for most wins in girls basketball state history. She has led the Saints to five state championships and four runner-up appearances. Under her direction, the Saints have 11 state semifinal appearances, and won 16 conference, 18 district and 14 regional titles.

“Dorene is someone who has been passionate for years about providing opportunities for young women,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said in a statement. “That’s easily seen in the work she’s put in not just with her program but as a strong voice of leadership for the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. She’s been one of the strongest advocates for girls basketball in our state over the last 20 years.”

Ingalls has been a board member of the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan for 20 years and was inducted into the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

In 2009, Ingalls and St. Ignace began the annual Hooping for a Cure game, which has raised more than $245,000 for the Mackinac Straits Health System and its oncology department. The 2020 game raised a record $35,000.

“To have the confidence to overcome when people say you can’t do something,” Ingalls said in a release. “We still always are like the ‘Hoosiers’ coming down (to a state championship game) – we go with that flow a little bit. We’re not going under the radar too often, but usually we don’t have as many DI (college) people as the teams we play. We try to make sure (our athletes learn) that hard work, dedication, positive attitude and don’t ever give up, fight through your adversities and just keep going, keep going, keep going.

“I get letters from kids that went to boot camp that said, ‘Oh my gosh, the only way I survived this is because of our practices and our tryouts. All these other kids are stopping, and I keep going.’ … Other ones go on to be doctors and nurses in the field. That’s what it’s all about, when kids are fighting through stuff. If they have all-nighters, they can figure that out and they know they have that inner strength they haven’t tapped into yet, that willingness to keep going. I think that’s what high school sports are about – teaching them the skills they need in life, to fight through things, that you’re capable of more, you just have to sometimes dig deep, shake it off and step it on up.”

The Women In Sports Leadership Award was first presented in 1990. Past recipients are:
1990 – Carol Seavoy, L’Anse
1991 – Diane Laffey, Harper Woods
1992 – Patricia Ashby, Scotts
1993 – Jo Lake, Grosse Pointe
1994 – Brenda Gatlin, Detroit
1995 – Jane Bennett, Ann Arbor
1996 – Cheryl Amos-Helmicki, Huntington Woods
1997 – Delores L. Elswick, Detroit
1998 – Karen S. Leinaar, Delton
1999 – Kathy McGee, Flint
2000 – Pat Richardson, Grass Lake
2001 – Suzanne Martin, East Lansing
2002 – Susan Barthold, Kentwood
2003 – Nancy Clark, Flint
2004 – Kathy Vruggink Westdorp, Grand Rapids
2005 – Barbara Redding, Capac
2006 – Melanie Miller, Lansing
2007 – Jan Sander, Warren Woods
2008 – Jane Bos, Grand Rapids
2009 – Gail Ganakas, Flint; Deb VanKuiken, Holly
2010 – Gina Mazzolini, Lansing
2011 – Ellen Pugh, West Branch; Patti Tibaldi, Traverse City
2012 – Janet Gillette, Comstock Park
2013 – Barbara Beckett, Traverse City
2014 – Teri Reyburn, DeWitt
2015 – Jean LaClair, Bronson
2016 – Betty Wroubel, Pontiac
2017 – Dottie Davis, Ann Arbor
2018 – Meg Seng, Ann Arbor
2019 – Kris Isom, Adrian
2020 – Nikki Norris, East Lansing

Categories: Girls Basketball