CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Madison Heights Lamphere Athletic Director Russ McKenzie is at the center of the establishment of the first-ever Macomb Area Conference football media day, which took place Aug. 5 at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley.
McKenzie serves as the AD in charge of football in the MAC. The event follows media days held by the Kensington Lakes Activities Association and serves as a way for coaches from each of the 36 MAC teams to speak about their teams going into the 2014 season, which begins Aug. 28. Each team was represented at the event.
McKenzie, the longtime wrestling coach at Lamphere, didn’t speak much during the event but used his time to tout the Macomb league. The media day event was open to the public.
“I’m very proud to be in charge of this group of people,” McKenzie said. “We have great coaching staffs and great groups of kids in our conference. MAC football, in my humble opinion, is the best in the state, top to bottom.
“We do a great job, and this is a great thing to do to have our coaches and kids get some added (publicity).”
The happening is the brainchild of McKenzie and Clawson High football coach Jim Sparks. McKenzie said he and Sparks met to discuss establishing a MAC media day this past spring. The Lamphere AD said he ran with the idea.
“I’m really excited with the turn out,” McKenzie said. “We’ll tweak some things as we go along, but this is great.”
“The turn out is bigger than I imagined,” Sparks said.
Port Huron Northern coach Patrick Connell called the media day event a good idea.
“It’s great to see so many people here,” Connell said. “This is great for our conference.”
Football practices across the state began Aug. 11.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association this year altered rules related to the start of football practice with player safety in mind. Players are not permitted to practice in full pads until the fifth day of practice, the provision states. Players are permitted to wear helmets the first two days of practice, and only shoulder pads can be added the third and fourth days of practice.