Three stalwarts of Miami-Dade high school athletics stepped forward Thursday to be honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Miami Herald’s All-Dade Awards banquet at Jungle Island.
When all was said and done, it was tough to tell whether the three honorees — Cheryl Golden, Mike Kypriss and Claude Grubair — were being thanked for their efforts or whether they were thanking the audience of young athletes, parents and coaches for allowing them to do what they have tirelessly done through the years.
However, one thing was abundantly clear.
When all three of the honorees were asked separately what they would miss most as they retired, they answered with the same words: “The kids.”
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▪ Cheryl Golden: For 14 years, Golden has been the person who has overseen one of the best athletic programs in the nation — and, if you want, you can make a case that it is the best overall program in the country.
Her direction of Miami-Dade high school athletics has been a study in patient problem solving and organization. Yet, as demanding as the job was, she always found time to be on the sideline or in the gymnasium, seeing and talking to kids, parents and coaches first-hand.
Golden was a teacher and coach before she began directing the county’s athletic program.
“Yes, I’ll miss the kids the most,” Golden said. “If you support kids, you are supporting the future.”
That established, Golden told the audience that she had help.
“For the coaches here, nobody has any idea how much work you put in,” she said.
“For the athletic directors here, it’s amazing what you do, what you go through and what you accomplish.
“And for the officials, you do so much for so few pennies. Then you get yelled at for doing it.”
▪ Mike Kypriss: A lifetime Miamian (born at Mount Sinai hospital), Kypriss was an outstanding quarterback at Norland, leading the Vikings to the state playoffs, and also played baseball as a Viking. Kypriss graduated from high school in 1973 and moved on to play at the University of Kentucky.
He came back to Miami to serve as an athletic director and coach, with the coaching most notably in tennis at Killian and Dr. Krop High.
Kypriss compiled a record of 1,280 wins and 44 losses (97 percent) in tennis, including 25 GMAC championships, 17 state championships and being named national coach of the year twice.
“The kids and Dade County athletics — the whole of it — is what I will miss the most,” Kypriss said. “I played in it, I coached in it and I taught in it.
“I will miss the whole aura of the greatest high school athletes in the nation.”
▪ Claude Grubair: Grubair was a coach and athletic director at Ransom Everglades whose efforts went far beyond winning and losing.
As one of his former athletes aptly put it, “He taught me pretty much everything I know about basketball. However, he has taught me even more about life and about doing the right thing. He has made me a better person and prepared me for the rest of my life, and for that I will always be indebted to him.”
His teams spent time on Thanksgiving delivering food to needy families, and they fed the homeless and they built homes for Habitat for Humanity.
After Katrina devastated Louisiana, he and players traveled to St. Bernard’s Parish to rebuild homes.
“What I’m going to miss the most is definitely the kids,” Grubair said. “That, along with the competition and the lessons we learned together every day.
“I learned early it was about being there for the kids and my job was just to guide them.”