Manchester Basketball to Celebrate 1969 Title Team

By Seth Kinker,

The idea had been in the back of former Manchester basketball player and now head coach, Mike Ahrens, mind since taking the job last July.

Next week, on Feb. 12, the Manchester Basketball program will celebrate the 1969 Lenawee County Athletic Association championship team from Manchester by inviting former teammates of Ahrens as well as cheerleaders and the wife of coach Cal Poppink, Martha Poppink-Melcher.

As the season has gone on, teammates of Ahrens had reached out to him about getting something organized to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the LCAA title.

Within the past few weeks Ahrens, with the help of former teammates and classmates, put together this event that will honor the team after the current teams game against Columbia Central on Feb. 12, at Over the Edge Sports Bar in downtown Manchester.

“Paul Heinrich is active with the alumni association in Manchester and this summer our 50th graduation anniversary is coming up,” said Ahrens on who helped make the event possible. “He has a lot of the contact information and has been helping me. One of my other ex-teammates Lynn Niehaus, who’s lived in the community since we graduated, has a lot of contacts.”

Ahrens was recently sent an article with a picture of the team in the locker room with former coach Cal Poppink, who led the team to the title in his first year as Varsity coach and has since passed away.

One of his goals for this event is to get that picture copied and frame to put at Over the Edge. Ahrens credits Poppink as one of the big reasons for him getting into coaching, something he’s done for over 40 years.

“This was a big deal because all the schools (that had won) had always been from Lenawee county,” said Ahrens on the 1969 team. “Manchester was now in this new league, the onlyschool from Washtenaw county.”

Ahrens told The Sun Times players, cheerleaders, and even the athletic director at the time have RSVP’d.

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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