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The Glass family of coaches continues at Caledonia and Leland

By: Tom Markowski, January 14, 2018, 5:46 pm

 

 

Caledonia – Mike Glass is in his sixth season as the girls basketball coach at Caledonia and though the Fighting Scots have done well under Glass he knows he has much to live up to with respect to the family name.

Caledonia, which lost to Class A finalist East Kentwood in a district semifinal last season, is 7-2 after losing to O-K Conference Red Division rival Hudsonville, 58-50, on Friday. Caledonia suffered its first loss of the season three nights earlier to No. 2-ranked East Kentwood, 52-45.

The Glass family has contributed so much to girls athletics in the past five decades, specifically basketball and volleyball, and it doesn’t seem that selflessness will end any time soon.

It started in 1977 when Larry Glass took over the girls basketball program at Leland after spending six seasons as the head coach of the men’s basketball program at Northwestern University. Leland won three consecutive Class D titles (1980-82) with Glass on the bench. Leland also reached the state semifinals twice more under Glass’ guidance. He retired from coaching after the 2005 season but not before being inducted into the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) Hall of Fame in 1992. Glass spent 21 seasons (1977-91, 2000-05) at Leland and his career record is 388-110.

Next was Glass’ daughter, Laurie, who began coaching volleyball at Leland in 1990 and, after a brief stint at Traverse City Central (1992-95), remains Leland’s volleyball coach. Leland has won three Class D titles (2002, ’06 and ’15) and finished runner-up twice (’05, ’14).

Mike Glass took over as head coach for his father at Leland in 1992 then went to Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern after the ’93 season and spent six seasons there. He took some time away from coaching at the high school level before returning as the head coach at Grand Rapids West Catholic in 2003. Preceding Mike as head coach at Caledonia was yet another sister, Rebecca. She was Caledonia’s head coach for four seasons (1986-90).

During Mike Glass’ eight-year stint at West Catholic, his niece, Laurie’s daughter Alisha, became one of the state’s all-time greats in volleyball. In 2006 she was named Miss Volleyball and led Leland to a state championship. She holds the state record for kills in a career (3,584), aces in a career (937) and aces in a season (296). And her 680 blocks (assisted and unassisted combined) ranks second all time for a career. Alisha would go on to star at Penn State where the Nittany Lions won three consecutive NCAA Tournament titles (2007-09). Glass also helped lead the USA to the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Fast-forward to this season’s Caledonia team. Mike Glass has a good mix of seniors and underclassmen led by seniors Anna LaMonaco (6-1) and Sammi Gehrls (5-10). LaMonaco is an inside player who signed with Hillsdale and Gehrls, who’s also a fine pitcher in softball, signed with Grand Valley State for basketball though she might play both sports in college. Lizzy Palmer is another senior in the starting lineup.

Juniors Kendall Krupiczewicz (5-9) and Olivia LeBaron (5-6) also contribute significantly, and the Fighting Scots are sure to be more competitive when junior Amiyah VanderGeld (6-0) becomes eligible. VanderGeld is a transfer from Middleville-Thornapple-Kellogg.

Caledonia is the smallest school by enrollment in the Red Division, which is quite possibly the most competitive division or league in the state. All seven members boast a record of .500 or better and, other than Grandville (5-5), all have a winning percentage or .700 or better. Their combined nonconference record is 42-6. East Kentwood (10-0) is the favorite but Caledonia, Hudsonville (9-1), Grand Haven (7-2), Rockford (7-3) and Holland West Ottawa (6-2) are all highly competitive.   

Glass and his team don’t catch a break in the districts as they will likely face East Kentwood again in a district semifinal. Caledonia drew Byron Center in a first round matchup while East Kentwood received a bye.