Hall of Fame referee and coach Mike Robillard leaves legacy on Muskegon area sports

LocalSportsJournal.com

They say if he had run for mayor, he probably would have won.

That’s how well loved Mike Robillard was in the community.

Sadly Robillard, a beloved referee and coach in the Muskegon area for more than 40 years, died on Friday after a 22-day battle with leukemia.

Mike Robillard 

Robillard built an extensive resume in the sports world over his 64 years of life. He refereed five high school boys basketball state championship games, one girls basketball state final and a football state final. He also officiated at least a dozen state semifinal
games.

He had extensive experience at the collegiate level, working Division II, III, NAIA and junior college games for more than 20 years.

He served as president of the USA Officials Association and served as a certified trainer of new game officials. He was also president of the Reeths-Puffer Little League for many years.

“Mike was a friend of everybody,” said Muskegon Catholic varsity baseball coach Steve Schuitema, who Robillard assisted for eight seasons. “He loved Muskegon Catholic Central, too. The work he did on the facility (baseball field) was constant. He was there all the time. The kids just loved him so much.”

Robillard was just as effective as a coach as he was as a referee, according to Schuitema.

“He had a lot of knowledge and made an impact on the kids on the team,” said Schuitema, who noted the MCC baseball team’s 130-13 record while Robillard served as an assistant. “You have to have good players, but Mike brought a lot to the table. He related so well with the kids. They all loved him. There are some real heart-broken kids right now.”

Robillard stands to the right of the 2015 MCC baseball state title trophy which is in the hands of Coach Steve Schuitema. The Crusaders beat Centerville 10-8 in the state championship game at Michigan State University. Photo/Tim Reilly

Robillard was inducted into the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Hall of Fame in 2013 as an official. He was inducted into the National Association of Sports Officials Hall of Fame in 2014.

“He (Robillard) was kind of the officiating compass of the West Michigan area,” said Mark Uyl, assistant director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association. “What made him an outstanding official was his understanding and common sense about the rules, but he also knew how to work with coaches on the sidelines.

“The void that he leaves is absolutely enormous. It wasn’t just so much the games Mike worked. It was the new people he was recruiting, the people he was training. The tree Mike was able to grow is something that will grow for years and years to come, and that’s what you can take from his life.”

Robillard graduated from Orchard View High School in 1970 and went on to serve as a flight medic for the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War.

He worked for the past 30 years as the sales manager at Morrison Industrial Equipment. He was an active member, and head usher, at Prince of Peace Catholic Church.

Robillard leaves behind his wife of 41 years, Wanda, and children Allison (Andrew) Kolbe and Eric Robillard.

Visitation will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at The Lee Chapel (6291 S. Harvey St) from 4-8 p.m. with Mass celebrated at Prince of Peace Catholic Church (1100 Dykstra Rd. N. Muskegon), 11 a.m. Thursday.

Memorials in Mike’s honor may be made to the Muskegon Catholic Central Baseball Program.

4 Comments

  1. Mindy

    February 20, 2017 at 2:02 am

    Uncle mike is truely one of the most amazing men I have ever met. He has made such an incredible impact in my life as well as my husbands. He has been an amazing role model for my boys and was an incredible papa to Akron for 10 months. While mourning his loss the family is also amazed at the outpouring of love from everyone that he has touched. As aunt Wanda said god truely got one of his best soldiers on Friday.

  2. Linda Winicki

    February 20, 2017 at 10:20 am

    It has been Marty and my honor to have been able to call Mike and Wanda our Best Friends! Mike you will be greatly missed by our entire family. Our girls all have said they do not have a childhood memory that doesn’t include you and your family. Thank you for your love and friendship. The Winicki’s

  3. Rico Patricio

    February 20, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Our tradition at MCC is based on people like Mike Robillard…the passion for the sports he officiated and coached was unparalleled….Mikes knowledge of the local talent made him someone you always wanted to have a conversation with to catch up…Muskegon area sports will be a lot different without Mike….one thing is for sure ….when we reminisce about sports in Muskegon,especially MCC ….mike will come to mind…we never forget those who made a difference…

  4. Kathy

    February 21, 2017 at 12:29 am

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the family may God blesss each and every one of you. 🙏🏻
    Jean Falbe and Kathy Falbe Satterfield

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