Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Judy Hacker Field dedication Saturday in Clawson

Roll and role.
Daniel Webster will tell you words that sound the same but have different means are homonyms. Anyone touched by the late Judy Hacker knows she specialized in both.
As a mentor and coach to countless female athletes in Clawson, Judy Hacker would definitely have occasion to roll the balls out onto the court or the softball diamond or the volleyball court or for field hockey.
In so doing, she became a revered role model for many.
Both legacies will be honored during a gathering at the Clawson Middle School softball diamond on Saturday. The field will be dedicated to the longtime former teacher and coach in Clawson who died in April of 2011.
Ruth (Mikus) Frushour is a 1973 Clawson grad. She went on to Central Michigan University and a long career as a teacher and a coach in the Troy schools.
“My father died when I was 15,” said Frushour. “He died on Christmas day from lung cancer. It was horrible. Judy knew that sports were a great outlet for me. I also knew that she would always be there for me.”

And vice versa. That is the bottom line for plenty who played for Judy Hacker. They revered her and wanted to be like her. At least five of her former players wound up following her career path as a physical education instructor and a coach.
Frushour was one of them. So was Laurie (Reynolds) Putman, Clawson Class of 1977, who is currently teaching at Schalm Elementary in Clawson.
“I knew what I wanted to do by the time I was in junior high,” said Putman. “Judy Hacker would have to gather up all the basketballs and lock them up so we’d finally leave the gym.”
Among the others who became teachers and coaches are Betty Wroubel, Patty Davis and Gwen Evans.
At least nine of her former student-athletes went on to play sports in college. Putman played both basketball and softball at Michigan State.
Putman is a key organizer of Saturday’s event.
After Putman graduated from MSU, she came back to Clawson to coach with Hacker. She was also a substitute teacher for a few years before landing a full-time position in Clawson.
The middle school softball field will be dedicated at 11 a.m., Saturday, with an alumni softball game to follow. Everyone who was touched in some way by Judy Hacker is welcome.
After the game, a presentation highlighting Judy Hacker’s outstanding career will be given.
Judy Rae Hacker pioneered the girls’ sports program at Clawson High. She spent 32 years working in the Clawson schools, from 1963 to 1995.
She initially organized and directed the Girls Athletic Association (GAA) program for Clawson High School from 1965 until 1972. She also organized the sports program when the state of Michigan supported interscholastic and league competition for girls’ sports.
Judy Hacker coached basketball, volleyball, softball, track and field hockey. She had nine undefeated seasons; five in basketball, and two each in volleyball and softball.
Her basketball coaching record was 210-21. Even with two seasons going unreported, her softball teams were 117-36.
Judy Hacker died from ovarian cancer.
“She would knock me upside the head if she knew we were doing this Saturday,” said Putman, laughing. “She did not want any accolades. She was very quiet. She would never let us nominate her for the high school coaches hall of fame, and she would be a shoo-in.”
Her successes spoke volumes. So did her expressions.
“The look” was the way Frushour laughingly defined it. That is the way Coach Hacker got her point across.
Former teammates will be looking at one another Saturday in Clawson. There will be some tears. There will be some laughter, too.
They’ll roll the softballs out onto the diamond. They will do it to honor a role model.