United States Sports Academy master’s degree alumnus Mike Duffy recently retired after serving 17 years as the athletic director at Adrian College in Adrian, Mich.
Duffy earned his Master of Sports Science degree in sports administration in 1985 and has worked as an administrator and coach at Adrian College ever since. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Adrian College, where he was a member of the 1980 MIAA championship football team. After graduation, Duffy jumped straight into coaching which included 23 seasons as assistant football coach with 10 of them as assistant head coach. He also spent four seasons as the head baseball coach before serving as an assistant, and coached the Adrian College track and field team.
In 2006, President Jeffrey R. Docking announced Duffy would take over as Athletic Director of Adrian College.
“When I got here in 2005, I knew we were going to leverage enrollment through athletics, and I needed to find the right person to lead the charge,” Docking said. “It was arguably the biggest job that we were hiring for, at that time. And, I met this guy, Mike Duffy, and I said to Rick Creehan who I was working with at the time, ‘Let’s promote him to Athletic Director.”
At the time of his promotion, Adrian College consisted of 16 athletic programs and 840 students. Since then, Adrian College holds an enrollment of 1,850 students and is home to 50 athletic teams.
During his time as athletic director, Duffy hosted and directed multiple NCAA postseason events including the 2009, 2018, and 2019 Mideast Baseball Regional’s at Nicolay Field. He also directed a 2012 NCAA Division III First Round Women’s Lacrosse game, a 2012 NCAA Division III First Round Football game, and the 2011 NCAA Central Softball Regional at the AC Softball Field.
Duffy directed five NCAA Men’s Hockey First Round games, ten Harris Cup Finals, and the 2022 NCAA Men’s Hockey Quarterfinals. On the women’s side, Duffy hosted six Slaats Cup Championships, a 2016 NCAA Women’s Hockey First Round game, and the First Round, Semifinal, and National Championship of the 2017 NCAA Division III Women’s Hockey National Tournament.
In addition, Duffy hosted and directed eight conference championship tournaments and six Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) postseason contests. Duffy has also been instrumental in helping as the coordinator for baseball and football over the past few seasons in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association. He helped orchestrate the inaugural postseason conference tournament in 2012. In recent years, Adrian College has been the host to the MHSAA first Girls Wrestling State Championships in 2019 and 2020 along with the first NCAA Collegiate Women’s Wrestling National Championship in 2020 and 2022.
Duffy also has been a key player in the growth of the Midwest Lacrosse Conference and Midwest Women’s Lacrosse Conference, including the adaptation of postseason tournaments that have an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Duffy also served as director of the 2020 and 2022 NCAA Division III Wrestling Central Regional.
He also has been involved with the re-organization of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association and Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association merger that took place in the 2013-14 season. Duffy served a four-year term on the NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse National Committee, and was chairman for two of those years. In addition to the women’s lacrosse committee, he spent four years on the Division III football and baseball regional committees.
In 2015, Duffy received the Outstanding Alumni Employee of the Year award. He was nominated by the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Affairs, Frank Hribar.
“Mike is an extremely knowledgeable and respected resource regarding a variety of work related responsibilities, and has proven to be a patient and continuous learner,” Hribar said in his nomination. “He’s a skilled listener who seeks to develop his skills and to incorporate them into application within his professional environment. Mike has assisted in sharing his talents and contributing with his professional colleagues while building an effective team and generously gives them credit while taking his full measure of accountability for their shortcomings when they come. He puts the interest of others before his own personal gain and serves with humility, integrity, and dignity.”
Duffy was also involved in several building projects as athletic facilities around campus continued to grow. He oversaw the construction of the $16.5 project known as Docking Stadium along with the Arrington Ice Arena, Craft Tennis Complex, Adrian College Track and Field Complex, Nicolay Field, the AC Softball Field, the Frank and Shirley Dick Baseball and Softball Practice Facility, the Bass Fishing Barn, and the Merillat Weight and Fitness Room.
During Duffy’s final Board of Trustees meeting, the Adrian College Board of Trustees announced the renaming of the weight room in dedication to Duffy. The weight room, located in the Merillat Sport and Fitness Center, will now be named the Duffy Family Fitness Center.
Duffy will retire with his wife, Rachelle, who served as the Director of Auxiliary Services and the Manager of the Arrington Bookstore at Adrian College. Mike and Rachelle’s last day will be June 30, 2022.