DETROIT — Two Catholic League coaches with long histories of championship success have been honored with 2018 National Coaches of the Year awards presented by the National Federation of State High School Associations Coaches Association.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep girls volleyball coach Betty Wroubel and Bloomfield Hills Marian and Birmingham Brother Rice golf coach Leon Braisted III earned two of the 23 available NFHS awards and have led their programs to a combined nine MHSAA Finals championships.
Braisted has coached the Bloomfield Hills Marian girls the last three seasons and the Birmingham Brother Rice boys the last two, leading Marian to a Division 2 runner-up finish in 2017. Rice finished seventh in Division 1 this spring.
Braised coached both the girls and boys Birmingham Seaholm teams from 1998 to 2016. He led the Maples girls to Lower Peninsula Division 2 championships in 2006, 2008 and three straight from 2013-15. The Seaholm boys team was Division 2 runner-up in 1999.
He was inducted into the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2015.
About his award, Braisted said, “As a golf coach for 21 years I recognize that golf is a lifelong sport. The player learns patience, perseverance and (the sport) motivates the individual to desire to improve (his or her) game … I do not turn any students away from being on the team whether they know how to play golf or not. There is much one can learn from being a teammate and facing the challenge of self-improvement, along with meeting new friends.”
Wroubel is the third-winningest coach in MHSAA volleyball history at 1,486-308-130 after leading the Fighting Irish to a 64-6 record and Division 2 runner-up finish last fall. She has coached volleyball at Clawson (1979-82), Pontiac and Oakland Catholic (1989-94) and Notre Dame Prep since its first season in 1994-95. Her teams won Class B titles in 2007, 2013 and 2017.
She also coaches the softball team — she led Pontiac Catholic to the Class C title in 1983 — and serves as Notre Dame Prep’s athletic director. She was inducted into the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014.
“My responsibility has never been solely to teach my players to play and love the sport of volleyball,” Wroubel said, “but rather to pursue their passion for something they love and how to grow as young, strong females today — to prepare them to handle disappointment, failure, adversity and stress in a healthy manner and success with a humble heart …
“I try to teach and empower my players … to work hard, be humble, grateful, forgive oneself, forgive others, and always strive to be what God created them to be.”
January 22, 2019