03/14/2011 – Patti Tibaldi, former Aquinas women’s basketball coach and current teacher and athletic director at Traverse City West High School, has recently received the 2011 MHSAA Women in Sports Leadership Award. The MHSAA awards women coaches, officials, and athletic administrators affiliated with the organization who demonstrate leadership and make a positive contribution to their athletic communities.
Tibaldi graduated from Aquinas College with a bachelor of arts and a double major in English literature and physical education. She began her career as a teacher at Comstock Park Public Schools, where she wrote and developed the K-5 physical education curriculum, and later transitioned to West Catholic High School, where she served as English and physical education specialist and coach for varsity basketball and softball.
In 1978, Tibaldi began her 18 year career at Aquinas. During which time, she held various positions such as head coach of women’s basketball, assistant athletic director, and woman’s softball coach. As head coach, she led her team to the National Catholic Basketball Championship in 1984 and three appearances at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Women’s Basketball Tournament. Tibaldi’s personal awards include the most wins in NAIA history since 1996, induction into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1999, the Basketball Coaches of Michigan Hall of Fame in 1997, and the West Catholic High School Hall of Fame in 1998. “Patti was a pioneer in the state of Michigan in women's athletics both at the high school and college level,” said AQ Athletics Director and baseball coach Terry Bocian. “She is extremely deserving of this honor.”
At Traverse City Area Public Schools, Tibaldi has served as teacher; physical education coordinator; PEP Grant Coordinator, in which she co-authored a million dollar federal grant which provides the community with the necessary funds to fight obesity; district support specialist for the secondary physical education department; varsity basketball coach for West Senior High; and, currently, athletic director for Traverse City West.
“I am deeply honored by this award, mostly because I never imagined I could be included in this group of women! Many of the former recipients are women I have coached with/against or worked with at both the high school and college levels and I highly respect them,” said Tibaldi. “Being a female in a male dominated profession is not always easy and to be recognized as a strong voice for women is very rewarding.”
This year’s additional award winner is Ellen Pugh of West Branch. Together, Tibaldi and Pugh increase the number of recipients to 26 since 1990. The award will be presented at halftime of the Class A championship game at the MHSAA Girls Basketball Finals at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing on March 19.
written by Lauren Carlson '12