Midwest Athletic Conference Commissioner: Don Kemper Email
The Midwest Athletic Conference was founded during the 1972-73 school year and began athletic competition in the fall of 1973. The original members of the conference included Ansonia, Bradford, Coldwater, Marion Local, Minster, New Bremen, Parkway and St. Henry. The conference recognized five varsity sports (all boys) at the onset including football, cross country, basketball, track and field, and baseball.
It wasn’t until the next school year that the Ohio High School Athletic Association, as well as the MAC, began to recognize girls’ sports at the varsity level. The MAC added the following girls’ sports, volleyball, basketball, and track and field as conference sports. Following the 1977-78 school year, Ansonia and Bradford elected to drop out of the conference, leaving the MAC with just six schools. Beginning in the fall of 1977, Fort Recovery, Mendon-Union, and New Knoxville joined in all varsity sports except for football, as none of the schools fielded a team. Prior to the kickoff of the 1982-83 school year, Delphos St. John’s was invited and accepted membership into the league. In addition, that year, girls’ cross country was added as a conference sport.
Things remained stable until shortly after the 1991-92 school year, when Mendon-Union schools closed. Boys’ golf was added as a conference sport beginning in 1994, while softball was added as a conference sport began varsity competition before the start of the 1996-97 season. In the fall of 1995, Fort Recovery officially began their football program as a member of the conference.
Before the start of the 1999 fall season, league officials entertained adding Versailles, Sidney Lehman, and Lima Central Catholic to the league. Following a vote, Versailles was the only school accepted, and they began competition in the fall of 2001. Since then, the only notable changes in the conference were adding girls’ golf as a conference sport in 2005 and during the same fall, the Anna Rockets were added for football competition only. Boys’ and girls’ bowling were added as conference sports in November of 2019, the conference bowling competition began in the 2020-2021 winter sports season.
Through the years, the Midwest Athletic Conference has proudly crowned 145 state champions in nearly all sports in which it has competed. The conference has also produced many “dynasties” in numerous sports that are recognized for their accomplishments around the state and every year produced many college-level athletes from NCAA Division I to NAIA. Along with tremendous athletes, the conference has also been fortunate to be home to many Ohio Hall of Fame coaches as well as some of the best small-school athletic facilities in the state.
Special thanks to Robb Hemmelgarn for writing this summary of the history of the Midwest Athletic Conference.