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.
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
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 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.