Hoops Tournament Supports New Scholarship | News, Sports, Jobs
IRON MOUNTAIN – For decades, men’s basketball tournaments have taken place across UP
Those who have played in the events or know the circuit over the years can name the locations – Negaunee, Carney, Hermansville quickly jump to mind. There were and there are many more.
Despite being a basketball-rich community, Iron Mountain was a notable absence on the circuit. But that can change. On February 26-27, Iron Mountain High School hosted the inaugural Richard Olds Roundball Classic, named after the venerable Mountaineer coach.
Proceeds from the tournament will be used to create the Richard Olds Basketball Dedication Scholarship which will be awarded to Iron Mountain High School basketball players, boys and girls, who dedicated their high school years to the sport.
Harvey, current Iron Mountain boys’ varsity basketball coach “Bucky” Johnson said the exact criteria for scholarship recipients has yet to be fully established, but dedication to the game is at the core.
“We want to give it to a student who played basketball for four years,” said Johnson, Olds’ son-in-law. “And they don’t have to be the star who pursues a college basketball career, but it could play a part. It will be a basketball dedication scholarship.
“It was basically Bucky’s decision, and I was all for it.” Elders added. “It should go to someone who has been dedicated to the sport from scratch.”
Olds, who hails from Marquette, has dedicated his entire life to the Mountaineer basketball program and the district’s physical education program. He taught elementary physical education for 30 years – Iron Mountain legends Tom Izzo and Steve Mariucci were fifth graders at Olds – and was involved in the basketball program at Iron Mountain High School for decades.
“Back then when you were hired as a physical education teacher, you were supposed to coach,” Olds said.
Olds coached the freshmen and junior varsity teams for the Mountaineers in the 1970s and became the varsity coach for the 1979-80 season. He remained the leader of the program through the 1996 campaign, retiring from teaching after the school year.
Although he found himself at the top of the Mountaineers program, Olds always enjoyed working with young players. And still does because he works with school-aged players on Saturday mornings during the season.
Current MI Harvey Coach “Bucky” Johnson’s sons, Kyle and Marcus, came up with the idea for the scholarship tournament.
“Marcus and Kyle have played in men’s league tournaments in Carney, Powers, Ishpeming, Negaunee,” said Coach Johnson. “And they said, ‘Can we get one at Iron Mountain? And I said, ‘Well, we always talked about making one in your grandfather’s name and we talked about it three years ago before COVID-19 hit and then we got away with it. somewhat distant.
“And so this year they played in one of the Carney Earlybird tournaments and that kind of kickstarted the idea and I checked with the school…and we booked the gymnasium.”
Nine teams from across UP competed in the Class A double-elimination tournament. The tournament was won by a team that included Kyle and Marcus Johnson, along with recent stars Michigan Tech, the all-time leading scorer of the Huskies Kyle Monroe and former North Central star Dawson Bilski.
Ten games were played on Saturday and six more on Sunday.
Current players at Iron Mountain High School volunteered to operate the clock, keep the scorecard, take tickets, and manage the concession stands.
Local referees also joined in the effort.
“I want to thank the officials because it is essential,” says Johnson. “They made sure things went smoothly.”
The tournament was sponsored by Iron Mountain Basketball and Friends, as well as four local businesses.
Johnson said the proceeds were sufficient to award the scholarship this year, although the process involving the school’s scholarship committee will need to be completed.
The plan is for the tournament to be an annual event and for the scholarship to be ongoing.
“We want to try to turn it into a perpetual scholarship,” Johnson explained. “Which means (the winner) will receive $500 per year for four years. Or we want to give it to a male and a female every year and then it wouldn’t be perpetual.
Olds, who recently turned 80, said he thought the event went well.
“We had a good turnout, especially since we came together on the spur of the moment.”Olds said. “It feels good to be honored in this way and I’m grateful that they did it for me. And (the product) goes to children, that’s the main thing.