"What we want is for all of our student-athletes to have an outstanding high school and middle school athletic experience," shares Mike Cowdrey, Bloomfield Hills Schools' Director of Athletics. "We want them to enjoy their experience, have fun learning life lessons through sport, learning how to be good teammates, how to deal with adversity, how to lead and become leaders, and how to be able to accept criticism from a coach. These are all the things that later in life, they're going to need in the workforce. If we are successful with wins and losses, that's a bonus. Winning shouldn't be the end goal, but if we do all the other things that we want to accomplish, winning will take care of itself."
Winning has indeed taken care of itself, as many of our Bloomfield Hills High School teams have competed at regional and state levels over the past several years. Cowdrey notes, "Our greatest strength as an athletic department is the support from our community and our school district. When we have teams who do well, the following they receive from our community is astounding. The first year of Bloomfield Hills High School, our basketball team went to Division 1 State Finals. Our community really rallied, from the Superintendent to Principals to community members. There was Bloomfield pride. I think that's our biggest strength."
Our schools' athletic success in part comes down to excellence in coaching. Cowdrey shares, "we have a number of former elite level athletes that are coaching at BHHS. On our football staff, for instance, all of our Varsity staff played college football. We have a couple of former NFL players on our staff, and two Superbowl rings. These coaches are great at what they do. Their passion for the sport and their compassion for kids is what really makes them great. What we're really building here is relationships between coaches and students. The coaches care about their kids and it shows."
Ben Mutz, a BHHS senior and basketball player, shares, "Our athletic directors and our coaches make our department so strong. I've gotten to know our athletic directors Mr. Cowdrey and Mr. Guizzetti over the years, and you can tell how much they care. As a writer for the Bloomfield Hawkeye, I've asked Mr. Guizzetti for multiple interviews and he always has an open door policy and is willing to talk. Mr. Cowdrey has always shown support for me as an athlete and for the basketball program. One time, my coach, Phil Kurajian, pointed out to me that Mr. Cowdrey had been mopping the floor of our locker room, and told me, 'No boss in the history of bosses has ever done that.' It's the support and hard work mentality of our athletic directors and coaches that make Bloomfield athletics great."
Bloomfield Hills High School's athletic department is fortunate to have an athletic strength and conditioning coach, Christian Polega. Cowdrey explains, "Polega customizes workouts for our athletes based on what sports they play. He goes from sport to sport and customizes it for the skills and explosiveness that they will need." This level of customization and personalization provides our athletes with an amazing advantage.
Emily Mucci, one of the BHHS girls lacrosse coaches as well as a graduate of Bloomfield Hills Schools, reflects on the experience of coming back to coach. "As a high school coach, you obviously want to win and be competitive, but at the same time, you are teaching the girls some life lessons before they start their next stage in life. Teaching the girls how to be competitive, strong women, that will stick up for themselves is something that we work on as a team. We also work on making sure that they work well as a team, and know how to communicate with one another. You rarely work alone in life, so playing on a high school team teaches important cooperation skills."
Grace Dillon, a graduate of the class of 2018, made all-state for ski and lacrosse all four years of her career at Bloomfield Hills High School. Dillon reflects, "I'm really grateful for all the amazing coaches here at Bloomfield. My coaches all understood that I had to prioritize school. I also feel very grateful for the school culture and environment. I've been surrounded by people who value academics and athletics. Here in Bloomfield, there are so many students who excel and you're in an environment where everyone around you is always working hard to do their very best. They're all very supportive of each other. And that, more than anything, has prepared me for the University of Michigan. I've already been surrounded by very smart and accomplished people because of the culture of Bloomfield."
Perhaps the most powerful component to a successful athletic department - beyond the amazing coaches - are the student-athletes themselves. Caroline Allen, graduate in the class of 2018, a scholar-athlete, and captain of the girls 2018 tennis team, explains, "My parents didn't put a lot of athletic pressure on me. I was self-motivated. The most important thing about being a successful athlete is to be structured, and to be organized with your time."
Bloomfield Hills High School Student-athletes do not have to sacrifice academics to be successful in their sports. Chloe Roslin, a 2018 graduate, was captain of the figure skating team, a two-time regional figure skating champion, a national figure skating champion, and a three-time national competitor. Roslin also graduated summa cum laude, phi beta kappa, was a Presidential Academic Excellence award winner, and an OAA scholar. Roslin explains, "the school administration has been really great to me because I've still been able to be a Bloomfield student, taking a lot of online classes to give me more opportunities as an athlete. I feel so lucky to be at a school that's allowed me to keep my athletics and my academics such a priority. I think that BHHS is the best at allowing us to do that."
With a school culture that values excellence in both academics and athletics, coaches who care, support from the community, and students who take advantage of it all, Bloomfield Hills Schools Athletics Department is hard to beat!