Multi-sport athletes are not quite a thing of the past
Today in high school sports, the three-sport athlete is becoming somewhat of a rarity, as a single sport can fill up much of the spare time for any high school student. Soccer, volleyball, softball, and virtually any other athletic endeavor at the high school level can be worked on continually if that is a person’s intent.
Kyle Williams, a 2014 Paw Paw High School graduate is somewhat of a throwback, for he was a skilled participant in football, basketball, and baseball for four years as a Redskin. He then began college at Concordia College in Ann Arbor as one of four boys from the 2014 Paw Paw class who agreed to play football for the Cardinals. He had a successful season, getting considerable playing time on defense at safety. At the conclusion of the year, he decided to enroll in Kalamazoo Valley Community College to play baseball, as KVCC was more generous with their monetary assistance to his schooling.
Williams was a starting outfielder for the Cougars, and after his graduation has moved on to continue his studies at Western Michigan University. There, he saw a chance to continue his love of sports as a member of the Broncos’ rugby team, following the footsteps of older brother Eric who played the sport at Western a few years ago, and now plays semi-pro rugby. He has just returned to Paw Paw after six months in Australia. Kyle has just returned from some pre-season rugby over several days in Las Vegas, and is preparing for a scrimmage at Notre Dame.
Kyle appears to be the only Paw Paw athlete to have played three different sports at three different colleges, and one of what it appears to be just seven out of over 350 Paw Paw college athletes to have played three or more different sports in college.
Foremost, would be the Bowers family of Paw Paw. Parents Dane and Carol have helped create three offspring with amazing records at this high level of sports. Jason, a 1992 PPHS grad and current wrestling coach at Paw Paw, was on the football, track, and wrestling teams at Olivet College. Sister Emilee, who graduated from Paw Paw in 1995, ran track and played basketball and softball at Olivet. Sister Jeena, who graduated in 1997, took it even further with volleyball and softball at KVCC, and both sports plus golf at Olivet. Not surprising for a family with a strong sports tradition. Mother Carol has been part of national champion softball teams in her age class, and is currently preparing for the upcoming season.
Kevin Staniszewski, a 1987 graduate, was a starting member of the football, basketball, and baseball teams at Olivet College. He had been selected the PPHS Male Athlete of the Year his senior year, as was Williams.
Another recent vintage three -sport standout is Linda Morrison, who excelled in athletics at Paw Paw, graduating in 1996. She went on to compete in basketball, track, and women’s rugby at Carleton College.
Before that, you have to go back over a century to 1910 when George Howe after graduation from Paw Paw, was accepted at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, and competed in football, track, and wrestling. Both Howe and Morrison were selected to All-American teams, Howe in football, and Morrison in rugby.
It is somewhat ironic that Williams has not played his favorite sport - basketball - at an institution of higher learning - at least, not so far. There is always next year.
The Courier-Leader would be happy to learn of any other multiple sport college athletes from Paw Paw. Information can be e-mailed to: email@example.com