WARREN, Mich. — Oftentimes when a coach is inducted into a hall of fame, it comes at a time of reflection for those involved.
But that's not necessarily the case for Annmarie Michol. She's still thriving as a coach and making a difference in the lives of students and athletes each and every day. The longtime English teacher and former tennis coach at De La Salle Collegiate recently found out that she will be inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in September.
"I am so shocked and honored that I am receiving this special award," said Michol, who coached at De La Salle from 1992-2007 and has been an educator at the school since 1998. "It is truly an honor to join this prestigious hall of fame with so many other coaches that have either been role models to me or have been so successful building their own sports programs across the state. I always put my players first and their accolades and this honor is because they bring out the best in my coaching abilities."
Michol is the current boys and girls varsity tennis coach at Utica High School. She began coaching the Chieftains in 2016 after a four-year stint at Regina. But the bulk of her 24-year varsity coaching career was spent coaching the Pilots program — and with much success.
During her coaching tenure at De La Salle, Michol's teams were 140-70-5, winning a regional title and qualifying for the state finals on four separate occasions. She won her 100th career dual match in 2003 and went on to win the first of her two state coach of the year awards.
"Annie was a pioneer," said Mike Jolly, who was the director of athletics from 1994-2004 and worked alongside Michol. "She was the first female coach to take over a varsity program at De La Salle and she turned it into a power. De La Salle had the good fortune of having a coach who was beginning to learn her craft at Grosse Pointe South (JV) and was ready for a varsity job. And she also had the playing credentials, so it was a great fit."
Michol retired from coaching at De La Salle to spend more time with her family, as her daughters, Ashley, Lindsey and Haley began participating in sports and her husband, Joe, was a swim coach.
"I remember coaching at De La Salle like it was yesterday," Michol recalled. "I miss coaching for the school I have dedicated my entire career to. When the call arrived, and I found out that I would be hired in as the first female coaching in the history of the school, it was an amazing feeling."
Among her proudest moments while at DLS was building the program, year after year, and getting the players to buy into the program. She also recalls beating perennial power Brother Rice in three separate flights at a Catholic League Tournament.
"Getting the players to understand how important it was to keep playing in the offseason even if they were competing in other sports throughout the year," she said, "was something I was proud of."
Michol took a couple of years off before taking over the girls' program at Regina for four years, accumulating a 46-18 record while winning a regional title and qualifying for the state tournament twice. Since that time, she has spent the last four years at Utica, where she has coached the Chieftains boys and girls to a combined 111-18 record. She has six league titles and three state finals appearances in her seven seasons.
Over the course of her 28-year career, Michol has amassed a 297-106-5 overall record at De La Salle, Regina, and Utica. She has been named state coach of the year twice, regional coach of the year 10 times, Catholic League coach of the year on six different occasions, while her teams have achieved Academic All-State honors 22 times. In 2013, she was inducted into the Macomb County Coaches Hall of Fame.
Michol, who herself played No. 1 singles at Warren Fitzgerald for four years before moving on to play No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles at the collegiate level at Macomb Community College and Wayne State University, will be inducted into the Hall on September 20 at the Bovee Center on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant.
She no doubt, will be surrounded by her closest friends and family as she becomes the eighth De La Salle coach to enter the Hall, joining Bernie Holowicki (1987), Al Baumgart (1989), Jolly (2002), Brian Kelly (2009), Ross MacDonald (2013), Paul Verska (2017) and Doug McKay (2019).
"I would not be where I am today if it was not for the support of my beautiful family," Michol said. "In addition, Mike Jolly, my parents, my family, my previous coaches, my athletic directors and my brother (Mark Sobieralski - MHSCA Hall of Fame Class of 2017), who have been most influential in my coaching career.
"I have coached all this time because I love developing young players and have enjoyed teaching the game I love so much."