2017-05-18 / Sports

Doug Ingalls Hired as New Saints Athletic Director

By Kevin R. Hess


Doug Ingalls has been hired as the new athletic director for LaSalle High School, replacing Marty Spencer, who will retire at the conclusion of this school year. Mr. Ingalls has taught middle school mathematics and coached boys varsity basketball since 1992. He stepped down from his role as boys varsity coach prior to the 2016-2017 school year, but continues to assist with the girls varsity basketball program. “My goal is to continue the rich tradition we’ve built for our community and to help my coaches to be the best coaches and teachers they can be,” says Mr. Ingalls. He is pictured here during the St. Ignace track meet Friday, May 5. Organizing the track meets, from lining up the events to volunteers, will be one of his many new responsibilities. Doug Ingalls has been hired as the new athletic director for LaSalle High School, replacing Marty Spencer, who will retire at the conclusion of this school year. Mr. Ingalls has taught middle school mathematics and coached boys varsity basketball since 1992. He stepped down from his role as boys varsity coach prior to the 2016-2017 school year, but continues to assist with the girls varsity basketball program. “My goal is to continue the rich tradition we’ve built for our community and to help my coaches to be the best coaches and teachers they can be,” says Mr. Ingalls. He is pictured here during the St. Ignace track meet Friday, May 5. Organizing the track meets, from lining up the events to volunteers, will be one of his many new responsibilities. Encouraging an even closer relationship between the school sports department and the community, and working to improve the efforts of everyone involved with school sports are among the goals of Doug Ingalls, newly hired athletic director at LaSalle High School.

After 25 years with the district as a boys basketball coach and mathematics teacher, Mr. Ingalls says he was ready for a new opportunity, and he replaces retiring AD Marty Spencer. Mr. Ingalls says his goal is to continue the strong tradition of St. Ignace athletics in and for the community.

“I’m a huge believer in local,” said Mr. Ingalls. “I want our student athletes and local businesses to support one another. I want our community to know our students, and vice versa. A town of our size should be able to work really well together. It’s all about loving the place where you live.”

Much of Mr. Ingalls’ time has been spent with the basketball program, having worked with all levels, from elementary to high school, in organizing camps, games, and Junior Saints. Although he hopes to stay involved with the girls varsity basketball program, coached by his wife, Dorene, he is looking forward to being involved with more sports.

“I was involved in all sports as a kid. I ran track, cross country, played golf, baseball, basketball, and more,” said Mr. Ingalls. “It will be nice to see more and break up the monotony. It’s a great opportunity to introduce kids to a variety of sports.”

Although he is familiar with many sports, Mr. Ingalls admits that he has some learning to do with others.

“Wrestling is one sport that I could never be around much because it always happened the same time as basketball season,” he said.

The current director, Mr. Spencer, has been on the job for 13 years. Mr. Spencer replaced Rick Ledy, who also served a long tenure as the school’s AD.

“Rick and Marty were both excellent AD’s, and even better men,” said Mr. Ingalls.

Mr. Ingalls will be just the third athletic director in the past 30 years. The turnover rate for coaches, however, is much higher. There are a variety of reasons why coaches turn over so quickly, but Mr. Ingalls hopes to see that trend change in the near future.

“I want to assist all of our coaches to be the best coach and teacher they can be,” said Mr. Ingalls. “I want to listen to my coaches, let people be themselves, and help us all strive to be better at what we do.”

Mr. Ingalls is looking forward to being around the high school more. For the time being, he will continue to teach in the middle school half of the day, and then spend his afternoons at the high school. Aside from the opportunity to be involved in more sports, Mr. Ingalls says he was drawn to the position for the opportunity it provides to make a difference in the lives of young people. “I want to help them be successful in life, not just sports,” he said. “We will continue to have high expectations and high standards with both academics and athletics. It’s all about doing the right thing, working hard, having a great attitude, doing your best, and being kind.”

Making others better has always been important, even in his days as a college athlete. Mr. Ingalls was a four-year starter and two-year captain as a point guard with Northern Michigan University’s basketball team. He is still the school’s alltime leader in career assists.

“It’s the point guard’s job to make everyone better, and that’s what I want to do with this job, as well,” he said.

His experience as a mathematics teacher will be applicable to the scheduling work that is a big part of an athletic director’s duties, from scheduling games, to referees, to organizing volunteers for contests.

“In basketball, you really only need a few people and you’re good to go,” said Mr. Ingalls. “It’s a lot more involved for sports like wrestling and track. If anyone wants to volunteer, they can contact me at the school. We can use them.”

Don Gustafson, superintendent of the district, says he is confident that Mr. Ingalls will continue to provide strong leadership as the new athletic director.

Mr. Ingalls “has been a very successful girls and boys basketball coach at multiple levels, he has been involved in the MHSAA Coaches Advancement Program, and he has done graduate work in educational administration,” said Mr. Gustafson. “He has a passion for sports and was one of the founding members of the LaSalle High School Athletic Hall of Fame. As an athletic director, he will be able to view the program from the multiple perspectives he possesses as a coach, official, and parent.”

Mr. Ingalls says high school sports can be key to bringing a community together.

“School used to be the center of the town,” he said. “When the school is important, the town notices. We want them to know that we have teachers and coaches that care about their kids and their community.”

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