Coaches Hall of Fame to induct Cecil Burch

Cecil Burch
Cecil Burch

LEROY -- A Pine River legend will receive statewide recognition this weekend.

Cecil Burch, long-time track and cross country coach and teacher at Pine River, will be inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame on Sunday in special ceremonies at Central Michigan University.

His coaching career spanned close to 36 years.

Burch, who died in October 2010, will be represented by his wife, Jan, and other family members at the festivities.

“I would estimate he has taught 3,400-4,000 students and coached several thousand students,” said Pine River superintendent Jim Ganger. He was a class man, his dedication and heart were always in the right place. He has impacted many lives over the years.”

Burch was a member of the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association (MITCA), the Association of Track Officials of Michigan, and was a USA Track and Field certified official.

“Somebody at MITCA, which is the coaches association, nominated him for girls cross country year for 2008,” Jan Burch recalled. “When he received that award, they gave him paperwork for the Hall of Fame and said get this filled out.”

This particular honor is for coaches from all sports.

“My kids will be there and one of my athletes and her mom are going to go,” Burch said.

The induction of the Class of 2012 will be in the Terrace Room of the Bovee University Center on the campus of Central Michigan University. Burch will be one of 15 inductees. The event starts at 1 p.m. The Hall is based at CMU.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Jan Burch said. “He gave his heart and soul to cross country and track and field. When he was coaching football, he gave his heart and soul to that too.”

Burch served as head junior varsity coach and in other football coaching capacities, his wife said. Burch started coaching in 1975 and continued up to 2010 He coached track for 36 years for the girls and 25 for boys and girls cross country.

In 2006 and 2007, Burch’s girls cross country teams were second in the state in Division 3. His girls track team in 2008 was second in the state.

The Pine River cross country course at the school is named after Burch.

The Michigan High School Coaches Association (MHSCA) website notes that to qualify for the Hall one must “have served a minimum of 25 years in high school sports, and must have exemplified high standards of performance and service to his/her sport, school, community, state and affiliated organizations.”