By Sue Moore
The highest honor for a Vicksburg former athlete is induction into the sports Hall of Fame. It has honored 83 athletes since its founding in 1987.
It’s not just the highest achieving athletes that receive this honor, according to Coach Jon Kachniewicz. “Another part of the consideration is what they have done for their community once they have graduated from Vicksburg High School. This year’s nominees reflect that thinking as both Robert (Bob) Critz and Dave Maneikis have given back many times over to their respective communities.”
Critz earned four varsity letters, two in football and two in tennis, then went on to a 48-year career in coaching football in Allegan, Mendon, Colon and Centreville. He played first singles his senior year in 1960 and second singles as a junior.
His greatest team was the 1972 Mendon football contingent that went undefeated and was named state champion in class D by the Associated Press; there were no playoffs in those early years. He had Rock Klinger as his quarterback and Tim Baker as a receiver. “I just stayed out of their way and let them play,” Critz said. He was head coach in Mendon from 1969 to 1974, then went to Colon for four years to become part-time athletic director, history teacher and head coach. He moved to Centreville in 1979 but still worked the sidelines in Mendon as assistant coach, retiring from teaching in 2003.
He was high school track coach for 21 years at his various schools and golf and basketball coach at Mendon at various times. He was selected as the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) class D track coach of the year in 1998. Critz was inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1994.
He and his wife, Barb, have three children. All have gone into the teaching field.
Maneikis claims he wasn’t an all-star athlete while at Vicksburg High School as he was lettering in football, basketball and baseball. He graduated in 1970 and went on to get his associates degree from Michigan State University in electrical technology. He came back to Vicksburg to go into business with his father, Ed. He began his career of umpiring as an Michigan High School Athletic Association official in baseball, basketball and softball from 1974 to 1986.
Umpiring four or five days a week, Maneikis also volunteered as announcer for Vicksburg’s athletic programs in football, basketball and wrestling. With bad knees, he spent more time in recent years keeping score books and operating scoreboards for Vicksburg’s teams.
He was a charter member of the Vicksburg Athletic Boosters in 1983 and has logged 45 years of continuous service to the Vicksburg athletic program. “I volunteer because it gives me a way to give back to the school and community,” Maneikis said.
He and his wife, Sue, have twin daughters. They helped him with his scorekeeping duties as they were growing up.