Initiative begins to name field after beloved coach

Liggett homecoming will be Oct. 3

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 30, 2015

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GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Muriel Brock earned her reputation as a hardworking educator and coach at University Liggett School, but her influence reached far beyond those roles.


The now-retired Brock — who coached girls varsity field hockey and served as the girls athletic director for 36 years — was well-known for inspiring female athletes at a time when girls playing sports wasn’t very common.


“When I first came here, Muriel was in her last couple years of teaching. Muriel has always advocated for the girls,” Liggett coach and physical education teacher Biffy Fowler said. “She created opportunities for that. She was a bit ahead of her time for that.


“She was about developing the whole person when molding the girls into fine young ladies,” Fowler said. “One thing was building a good chemistry amongst the team. You had them all working toward a common goal that led them to success, respecting one another and appreciating one another.”


Plans are underway to name the school’s new field hockey and girls lacrosse field in honor of Brock. Lisa Black, a 1977 alumna who played field hockey and lacrosse for Brock, has led the fundraising initiative by making a $500,000 gift toward naming the fields in Brock’s name.


“I credit the education I received on and off the field for shaping who I am today and giving me the foundation to be a leader in my professional field,” Black said in a prepared statement. “When you think of great coaches who inspire and mentor, Muriel was all of these things. She was focused, dedicated and supportive.”


Black remembers the skills she learned from Brock, including general stick work that led to the girls teams being defensive leaders. She also remembers the sportsmanship that Brock instilled in her players.


The fundraising initiative is a part of the school’s Sure Foundations campaign, a $50 million fundraising effort that will support four priorities: the construction of new athletic fields and facilities, the Liggett Merit Scholars program, the school’s endowment and its annual fund.


Late this summer, the school completed the first phase of a two-phase athletic and classroom facilities project by completely realigning and rebuilding eight athletic fields and converting them from grass to artificial turf. The fields were made possible through the generosity of donors to the Sure Foundations campaign.


The next phase of the project will involve the construction of the 46,000-square-foot John A. and Marlene L. Boll Campus Center adjacent to McCann Ice Arena. The center will serve as a school welcome center and provide additional classroom space, a gym and a fitness center.


“I’m totally excited about the initiative to name the field after her,” Fowler said. “It’s so fitting. She stays in touch with many of the girls.”


Brock, she said, is shy about all the attention.


“I’m honored to have it done, but I’m not seeking out recognition,” Brock said. “I coached for many, many years. They were the most wonderful, satisfying years. It was more to see how the girls would develop as individuals. What I loved about coaching was the opportunity to watch them grow in personality and character.


“I’m a firm believer sports brings out an opportunity to grow, learn how to deal with people and take on responsibility,” Brock said. “I had a wonderful opportunity to coach many young ladies who have been very successful.”


“It was never about Muriel Brock,” Fowler said. “She’s the most humble person you can imagine. She was never looking for accolades. She never made it about her.”


Anytime Kelley Hamilton runs into Liggett alumni, it’s common for Brock’s name to come up in conversation.


“She really instilled confidence, character, teamwork and good sportsmanship in her players,” said Hamilton, who is the Liggett associate head of school for advancement. “Everyone loves her. She was such an important part to women at this school. She was an inspiration to these girls.”


During her years at Liggett, Brock started a summer day camp for the entire community.


“It’s something to this day kids still come and enjoy,” Hamilton said.


Hamilton and Fowler said Brock is still a big part of home games at the school as a spectator.


Brock is a member of the Michigan High School Coaches Field Hockey Hall of Fame and the Michigan High School Coaches Lacrosse Hall of Fame. In 2012, she was inducted into University Liggett School’s Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame.


For more information about the Muriel Brock fundraising initiative or the Sure Foundations campaign, contact Kelley Hamilton at khamilton@uls.org.


“We’ve built the fields already,” Hamilton said. “Now we’re raising money to name the field.”

Homecoming game is this Saturday
The Liggett homecoming game is set for Oct. 3. Tickets cost $5 at the gate for the outside community and are free for Liggett families, students, alumni and fans.


Festivities will begin at 4 p.m. on the school’s new football field. Kickoff will be at 6:30 p.m., with halftime around 7:30 p.m. under bright lights that will illuminate the field.


The evening’s events will include bounce houses and pumpkin painting. A parade will be held around the field before kickoff, and the school’s annual Red vs. Blue Tug of War will be held during halftime. The school choir will perform the national anthem, and the pep band is slated to perform during the game.


During halftime, spectators will remember former student TiJuan Kidd, a star football player who was murdered during the summer of 1987. Kidd wore the No. 7 jersey while on the team, and school representatives will honor his memory with a framed No. 7 jersey.


University Liggett School is located at 1045 Cook Road.

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