Author: Ryan Cunningham

Ryan Cunningham Michigan

BCAM Honors Ryan Cunningham of Michigan with “Century Club”

Ryan Cunningham Michigan

The Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) recently recognized Dr. Ryan Cunningham of Michigan with two certificates of accomplishment as part of BCAM’s “Century Club”.

BCAM Executive Director Dan Young presented former Michigan Superintendent Ryan Cunningham with a certificate for achieving 200+ wins obtained as a head coach and a certificate for achieving 200+ wins obtained as a non-varsity head coach.

“For me, it wasn’t about the wins and losses but the experiences that I have had with the kids,” said Ryan Cunningham of Michigan. “My goal was to always compete and teach the kids a little bit about life along the way – the wins took care of themselves.”

Ryan Cunningham of Michigan, who retired in August of 2022 as Superintendent of Ovid-Elsie Area Schools still remains as Ovid-Elsie’s Head Girls’ Basketball Coach. Last year the Lady Marauders went 22-5 to win their conference, district, and regional before losing to eventual state runner-up Blissfield by four points in the quarter-finals.

“It was a great season,” said former Superintendent Ryan Cunningham. “The year before we went 21-2 but lost to Frankenmuth in regionals.”

Since starting his coaching career at Adrian Lenawee Christian in 1995, Cunningham has amassed over 400 wins at LCS, Morenci, and Ovid-Elsie. Cunningham also was an assistant coach on Morenci’s state runner-up football team in 1997 and Ovid-Elsie’s state runner-up football campaign in 2009.

Former Michigan Superintendent Ryan Cunningham of Michigan said, “I was blessed to be able to coach as a teacher and as an administrator. I have some great memories coaching and have built some very strong relationships with former players.”

As of 2023, Cunningham has coached forty-one seasons of basketball ranging from youth to varsity, and this does not include the AAU teams that he coached or the America Teams that traveled to Italy and Spain. Additionally, Cunningham coached softball and several years of football.

“I am just thankful that I’ve had these opportunities,” said Ryan Cunningham of Michigan. “It is nice that BCAM reached out and recognized me officially, but any coach would tell you that we do not coach for the recognition but rather the game(s) we love and for the kids.”

The Power of Sports in Community Building

Ryan Cunningham Superintendent

Let’s play ball! Most people think first of the health and wellness benefits that come with participation in team sports, both physical and mental. But participation in sports is also a powerful tool for bringing people together and strengthening a community through teamwork and fun. Ryan Cunningham Superintendent explores the power of sports in community building.

Sports are Fun and Relieve Stress

First and foremost, sports are fun! Physical activity can release endorphins (the “happy” chemicals) and relieve stress. People who are experiencing less stress are more open to new ideas, connecting with others, having hope for the future, believing in themselves and others, and they are generally better and more engaged members of their community.

Sports Promote Inclusive Communities

One can’t have a sports team without players! The days of being the last one picked for the gym class volleyball team are over. When one joins a community sport, one is usually welcomed to participate as all hands are needed on deck.

And sports can be a great equalizer as they are of interest to people of different gender expressions, races, classes, sexual orientations, religions, and more. Everyone loves a good ball game, no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they look like.

By extension, sports also champion diversity in a community. A team needs many different players with many different skills. Sports can encourage us to celebrate differences rather than shy away from them and can open the door for conversations among people from all walks of life.

Sports Encourage Safe and Healthy Recreation

Children and young adults who might otherwise get into trouble can find a safe and healthy recreational outlet in community sports. Frankly, sports are a smart way to keep kids “off the streets,” therefore creating a stronger, safer, more sustainable community for generations to come. Sports practices also teach young people the importance of teamwork and responsibility.

Ryan Cunningham Superintendent

Sports Strengthen Community Pride

At a local, regional, state, and even national level, one always wants to “root, root, root for the home team,” as they say in the classic song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame!” Accomplishing feats both great and small on the sports field or court can bring out a natural sense of pride in players, and if the team is from one’s community, that pride will extend naturally to the whole group. The sound of a cheering crowd, a ball hitting a net, or a bat cracking a home run can get the whole community to rally together!

How and Where to Participate in Community Sports

If one is looking to participate in community sports, the local YMCA could be a great place to start. One could also contact their municipal recreation center or office to see what is available. Or even head to the local park and see if a pick-up game is happening! The power of sports in community building is proven – one just needs to take the first step and get involved.

Celebrating the Legacy and Impact of Semi-Professional Football

Ryan Cunningham Michigan

The most die-hard football fans know that there’s more than one way to devote one’s life to the game. Only a handful of men have ever made it to the NFL, but around the country there are thousands of men and women who have played semi-pro football – and thousands more who pack the stands to watch this unique dedication to the game.

Believe it or not, the American Football Association (AFA) has been advancing and promoting adult minor league and semi-pro football in the United States for 43 years! Unaffiliated with any other national semi-pro or minor league organization, it’s on a mission to ensure that the memories of those who have played, coached, officiated, and managed at the minor league level are kept alive for generations to come.

Ryan Cunningham of Michigan explains that from its humble beginnings, the AFA has cultivated a sense of community and camaraderie among the unsung heroes of minor league football.

The History of the AFA

In 1980, Ronald J. Real founded the American Football Association (AFA) with a vision to revolutionize minor league football. Originally known as the Minor Professional Football Association (MPFA), the organization embarked on a mission to establish Minor League Football.

A significant milestone came in 1981 when the AFA orchestrated its first All-Star Game, an event that showcased the talents of the top 100 minor league football players to NFL scouts and coaches. This event served as a platform for aspiring athletes to capture the attention of the football world and demonstrate their abilities on a grand stage.

While Real originally aspired to create a comprehensive minor league system akin to those in baseball, ice hockey, and basketball, financial and organizational challenges necessitated a shift in focus. The AFA redirected its efforts towards providing vital services to semi-pro teams nationwide, becoming a driving force in supporting and nurturing the growth of football at the grassroots level.

Recognizing the need to embrace all levels of non-professional football, the AFA underwent another transformation in 1986 when it rebranded itself as the American Football Association (AFA), a name that encompassed its broader scope and potential involvement in various tiers of the sport.

Ryan Cunningham Michigan

Honoring Semi-Professional Football Players

Semi-pro football teams for men and women exist all over the United States. We may not be able to see them play on television, but their dedication to the game is one that isn’t swayed by a checkbook but for a true love of the game.

At the heart of the American Football Association’s (AFA) mission is the unwavering commitment to honor and celebrate the exceptional contributions of those involved in minor league football by deserving individuals into the Minor League Football Hall of Fame.

Induction ceremonies go beyond celebrating athletes, also paying tribute to the coaches, executives, officials, and other notable figures who have left an indelible mark on the landscape of minor league football. It is a collective acknowledgment of the multifaceted nature of the game, recognizing the invaluable contributions made by all who have been involved in its growth and success.


The American Football Association is dedicated to preserving and sharing the stories of minor league and semi-professional football players across the country and fostering a sense of community that inspires the next wave of athletes and leaders within the sport.