By Greg Gielczyk

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS–Maurice A. Sain was an accomplished high school athlete at Muskegon Heights.

Following high school, he continued his involvement with sports, first as an assistant at Muskegon Heights. Currently, he is at Muskegon High School.

It’s a little more difficult to work around his schedule these days, though, as he’s the Muskegon Heights Chief of Police. That means he’s loaded down with meetings and conferences.

But, he’s managing, even if he occasionally has to miss a practice.

Sain started in law enforcement in May 1999, and steadily rose in the ranks through the next 23 years until finally becoming the head man.

He was promoted to sergeant in 2010 by Chief Gail, and after Joseph Thomas came in as chief, he was moved up the ladder to Deputy Chief.Thomas eventually left, opening the door for Sain to take the lead position. He’s been the top guy for 1 1/2 years.

“Being a sergeant, I was just responsible for four officers,” Sain said. “Now being the chief, I’m responsible for the entire department, and making sure the day-to-day operations are being carried out.

“I just promoted a lieutenant, so now I’ll have somebody who is second in command to kind of help me throughout the day.”

Sain added that being in law enforcement compares favorably to athletics, in regards to having a team atmosphere.

“You can’t, of course, do this job by yourself,” he said. “You come in and work with a set group of people and you build that camaraderie.”

Although he played 3 years of varsity football at Heights, basketball is his main gig.

He played varsity basketball for 3 years as well, but played both at the next level.

He played a year of football at Grand Rapids Community College then returned home to play two seasons of basketball at Muskegon Community College.

Sain attended Delta Community College in Saginaw to study law enforcement. He had to take a spring class for basketball while he was at MCC, and took a police science class as well.

It piqued his interest, and then pure happenstance led to his becoming an officer.

“I had the opportunity at the time of meeting then Chief George Smith at the barber shop, and he said he’d like to have an officer of my stature in the department,” Sain said. “That kind of led to conversations, and I filled out an application, and they sponsored me through the police academy.”

After he started on the force, Sain was asked to go and work in East Park Manor. He did that for a couple of years, and after he finished that assignment, he was asked to serve as a police liaison and resource officer at the school.

That led to the start of his coaching career.

“Once I started working there, Coach Keith Guy, who is my brother, got the head coaching job (in boys basketball) there and asked me to be his assistant,” Sain said. “I started helping him at the high school in 2003, I believe. I went on with him when he transferred over to Muskegon. But, I also had to coach the Mini Mites football for a couple of years.

“Then I also started the Muskegon Heat AAU basketball team,” Sain said. “That’s what I’ve been doing since I’ve been here, working with the youth as well as being a servant to the community as a police officer.”

As the police resource officer at Heights, Sain said he was able to come in contact and build relationships with all of the students, as well as the athletes.

Sain is responsible for developing the post players, the “bigs” who occupy the zone down inside close to the basket.

“You get them in and they don’t understand a lot of the footwork that it takes to be a good post player, and that’s what I focus on,” Sain added. “And being able to have certain moves. For me, being kind of an old guy in this sport, I had to adjust a little bit because a lot of post players in this new brand of basketball don’t really play with their back to the basket like I was taught.”

He’s also been Guy’s top assistant for the past 17 or 18 years, and if the head coach is unable to make a game for any reason, Sain will take over running the team.

“Just being able to continually impact the youth in a positive manner is what I live to do,” Sain said.