BORN: OCTOBER 17, 1926, TARANTA, ITALY
DIED: OCTOBER 19, 2010, MUSKEGON, MI
1954 to 1986, Roger Chiaverini established a reputation as a consistent
winning football coach for five Michigan high schools with a 31-year total
of 179 wins, 82 losses and 10 ties. His .793 winning percentage with two
Muskegon area schools (Muskegon and Muskegon Catholic) ranks with the very
best of local coaching careers.
Born in Italy, Chiaverini came to America as a small child in 1929. After graduation from Detroit Western High School in 1944, he enrolled at the University of Michigan, then transferred to Western Michigan College in Kalamazoo where he completed his undergraduate and graduate work. A graduate assistant with the Bronco gridiron squad, "Chev" landed his first head football coaching assignment at Adrian High School in 1954, followed by a six-year stop at Monroe High School. In the fall of 1964, Chiaverini was hired by Muskegon High School to resurrect the winning football tradition of the Big Reds. "Chev" proved to be the man of the hour, giving Muskegon a 5-2-2 record in his first year, followed by two undefeated seasons in 1965 and 1966. Through the 1970 season, Chiaverini's Big Reds were 49-11-3, including two championships in the tough Lake Michigan Athletic Conference.
Despite the prospects of an outstanding Big Red squad for 1971 (they won the mythical state championship) Chiaverini was lured to conference rival Muskegon Catholic Central. Employed to improve the Crusaders' gridiron program, he again delivered. Over the next eight seasons "Chev" led Catholic to a 56-15-1 mark, including an undefeated Class B mythical state crown in 1974.
Chiaverini completed his coaching career with Holland West Ottawa High School from 1979 to 1986, after which he "retired" from head coaching duties. Unable to divorce himself completely from his love of high school football, "Chev" has continued to dispense his expertise as an assistant to former coaching colleagues and students at Muskegon Reeths-Puffer and Muskegon Mona Shores.
BORN: JANUARY 2, 1945, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Ed Douma learned the
basics of basketball at Muskegon's Western Michigan Christian High School under the
school's great cage patriarch Elmer Walcott. Douma not only became a
standout player, but also went on to an illustrious coaching career at both
the prep and college level.
Douma was a key player on Christian's 1962 Class C state championship team. He went on to Calvin College in Grand Rapids where he was a four-year starter for the Knights under inspirational mentor, Barney Steen. By this time he had decided on a basketball coaching career and he was hired by Shelby High School as a teacher and varsity cage coach. With a stable of talented players, including future NBA star Paul Griffin, Douma led Shelby to consecutive Class C state championships in 1971 and 1972. His prep record soon led to a college coaching assignment at Lake Superior State, where he won two conference titles. He went on to coach at Alma College, North Carolina-Greensboro and Kent State where he continued to build on his reputation as a winning coach.
In 1984, his alma mater Calvin College lured Douma back to his West Michigan roots by offering him the head coaching job for their prestigious Division III basketball program. Douma eagerly accepted the new challenge and proceeded to lead the Knights for the next 12 seasons. Under his tenure, Calvin continued to finish at the top of the MIAA conference, falling below second place in the standings only in his final year (third place, 1995-96). Under Douma, Calvin enjoyed seven 20-win seasons and never won less than 15 games during his reign. His 254-72 career mark made him the Knights all-time coaching leader. Among his accomplishments were six MIAA championships, including a Division III national championship in 1992. Their record that year was 31-1 and earned Douma several Coach of the Year awards. Douma was inducted into the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Hall of Fame in 1995. He retired after the 1995-96 season with an overall collegiate record of 419-189 (.689), which placed him in the top 25 Division III basketball coaches of all-time.
In the spring of 1998, Douma returned to coaching at Hillsdale College. The veteran coach posted his 500th career coaching victory on February 8, 2003 with an 86-83 overtime win over Mercyhurst.
BORN: MAY 4, 1939, RACINE, WI
Jerry Fitzpatrick, better
known as a coach and athletic director at Muskegon Mona Shores High School, was one of the greatest track and
field athletes ever produced in the Muskegon area. Specializing in the
sprints and the long jump, Fitzpatrick was a standout at Muskegon Catholic
Central in the 1950s and continued to sparkle for the University of Notre
Dame and for the Southern California Striders in AAU track events of the
At Muskegon Catholic High School, Fitzpatrick established Crusader records in all sprint events and in the long jump. His time of 9.8 in the 100-yard dash was the fastest time ever posted in the history of the Greater Muskegon track meet. In his senior year, he became the first long jumper from the Muskegon area to win a Class A state championship in that event since 1921.
Fitzpatrick's prep career earned him a full track and field scholarship at Notre Dame and he quickly became a star performer for the Irish under Coach Alex Wilson. In three years at Notre Dame, Jerry compiled a phenomenal total of 320 points in top collegiate competitions. His remarkable record in his specialties included 29 first place finishes, 19 seconds and eight thirds. In addition, the four-man relay teams in which he participated finished first in 11 meets.
After graduation he moved to California and continued to compete as an amateur for the Los Angeles-based Striders, one of the most formidable track clubs in AAU competition. Competing in the prestigious Mt. San Antonio (or Mt. Sac) Relays in the early 1960s, Fitzpatrick's relay teams set or challenged world records against the finest runners in the USA. In individual events, Jerry held his own and occasionally bested Olympic gold medalists like Ralph Boston and Lee Calhoun.
In 1964, Fitzpatrick returned to Muskegon to teach and coach track at the new Mona Shores High School. His 1972 Sailors won the city track championship and in 1978 Jerry assumed the position of Athletic Director, where he remained up to his retirement after the 1998 school year.
BORN: OCTOBER 3, 1965, MUSKEGON, MI
Like his father, Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame member Jim Morse, Bobby
was an exceptional football player, leading Muskegon Catholic Central to two
state titles and one runner-up finish during his career. A four-year
starter at MCC, the hard-charging running back helped the Crusaders compile
a phenomenal 40-1 record while leading the team his senior year with 1,065
yards on 181 carries.
A first-team all-stater, Morse duplicated his success at Michigan State Universitywhere, at fullback, he was the lead blocker for Lorenzo White, the nation's leading rusher in 1985. As a junior and senior, Morse won MSU's Biggie Munn award, given to the team's most inspirational player. At only 5-10, 213 pounds, Morse showed his versatility by compiling a career total of 651 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, while catching 102 passes for 723 yards and three touchdowns. In addition, he was MSU's punt returner for three-and-a-half years. During that span, he never called for a fair catch or fumbled a punt while averaging eight yards per return. In 1984, Morse ran a punt back 87 yards for a touchdown against rival Michigan.
Following graduation, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Morse in the 12th round of the NFL draft. He spent four seasons in the professional ranks, including three as the primary punt returner for the New Orleans Saints, where he is best remembered for a classic 99-yard kick return for a TD against his home-state Detroit Lions. Morse was a crowd favorite in the NFL because of the intensity and desire with which he played the game. He broke his forearm in the 11th game of the 1990 season and was forced to sit out the remainder of the year. He retired from the game following that season.