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Mike Arbutina

Administration ∙ Freedom

 

 

 

 

Over the last several decades, the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) has developed into one of the largest and finest scholastic leagues in the nation. Mike Arbutina of Freedom was a keg cog on the development of the league as it is known today. It takes a great deal of administrative work and leadership to run such a large and diverse organization. Mike was just that person for more than twenty years, serving the majority of that time as the president of the league from 1972 to 1992. Mike played football and basketball at Freedom High School, graduating in 1943. After 2˝ years in the Navy, he returned to Beaver County and attended Geneva College, graduating in 1950. In 1952, he accepted a teaching position at Freedom and also coached football and basketball there. In 1960, Mike became the assistant principal at Freedom High School and in 1962 was appointed the first principal at Western Beaver. It was during his tenure at Western that he began his involvement in the WPIAL on the basketball steering committee. When he first became president, the WPIAL had no full time employees, but with the emergence of girls’ sports and the incorporation of the private and parochial schools into the WPIAL, Mike developed a full time staff. Mike’s experience in legalities was invaluable as the WPIAL encountered between 25 and 30 lawsuits during his tenure but lost just once. Mike was also active on the state level, serving as vice president of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) for two years and its president for three years.