It’s a rare occasion when you can receive one of the most prestigious awards presented in your profession, then get a hug from the award’s namesake.
On Sunday in Traverse City, Livonia Stevenson athletic director Lori Hyman accepted the Jack Johnson Distinguished Service Award that is presented annually by the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
Not long after the presentation, the longtime Spartan – Hyman was an outstanding student-athlete at both Stevenson and Michigan State University – was congratulated by Johnson himself, a highly-acclaimed former educator and athletic director in Dearborn.
“It’s an incredible honor to accept an award that is named after a man I dearly admire,” said Hyman, who is marking her 20th year as the AD at Stevenson.
Hyman said her rewarding experience at Stevenson has been enhanced by the opportunity to be a member of the “Three H’s”, alluding to herself and Livonia public high school athletic directors Marc Hage (Churchill) and Ron Hammye (Franklin).
“What makes my job special is working in a district that is so cohesive,” said Hyman. “Myself, Marc and Ron work as a team. We never try to outdo one another; we’re always working to make all three schools’ athletic departments the best they can be.”
When Hyman provides direction to Stevenson’s coaches, she speaks from experience. Prior to taking over the AD reins at her alma mater, she served as the head women’s basketball coach at Northwood University and Ferris State University.
Hyman, a highly-decorated basketball player at MSU, worked for five years as an AD with the Dexter Community Schools before starting her current position in 1995.
“I’ve always believed that an athletic administrator coaches their coaches, so it’s necessary to have been a coach in order to do this job effectively,” Hyman said. “I can relate to what they’re going through on a day-to-day basis, although today’s coaches face more pressures than coaches faced when I coached.
“Coaches today have more responsibility when it comes to fund-raising, there are social-media guidelines and liability issues. That’s why the favorite part of my job is being able to relieve the coaches as much as possible so they can focus on coaching their teams.”
Hyman’s professional resume is long and impressive. In addition to serving as a Leadership Training Institute instructor, presider and speaker, she is a regular speaker for the Women in Leadership Academy and the Women’s Athletic Coordinator and Sports Camp.
She also volunteers her time with the Rotary Club, Thanksgiving Food Kitchen, the Newburgh Methodist Church and Special Olympics.
“Lori has set high standards for the academic and social responsibilities of our student-athletes,” said Livonia Stevenson principal James Gibbons. “She extends herself into the community … she shows her care and compassion for all by organizing and supervising many charity events. Lori shows great leadership and insight.”