The Detroit Catholic High School League (CHSL) recently announced that U of D Jesuit alumni Ron Rice and Jordan Morgan and U of D Jesuit Hockey Coach Rick Bennetts will be honored at the Catholic League Hall of Fame Banquet on June 9, 2014.
Ron Rice, a 1990 graduate of U of D Jesuit, played football for the Cubs under head coach Dick Kennedy and helped lead the Cubs to back-to-back Prep Bowl appearances in 1988 and 1989. In his senior year, Ron was a two-way starter at defensive back and quarterback. As a co-captain in 1989, he had 59 solo tackles, 23 assists, and two interceptions on his way to All-Catholic and All-Metro honors.
After graduating from U of D Jesuit, Ron played football at Eastern Michigan University, where he was a four-year letter winner for the Eagles. He played in 40 games for Eastern Michigan and earned 38 starts. In 1991, Ron led the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and was second in the nation in kickoff returns. In 1994, Ron was named first team All-MAC safety and finished his career as the sixth-leading tackler in EMU history with 325 total stops.
After his stellar playing career at Eastern Michigan, Ron signed with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent. From 1995 to 2002, Ron had the opportunity of a lifetime – playing in his hometown for his hometown team. During his playing career with the Lions, Ron registered 386 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 12 interceptions, and in 2000, was awarded with the Walter Payton “Man of the Year” Award from the National Football League (NFL).
After a neck injury in 2002 ended his professional football career, Ron has stayed involved with sports in various capacities. He’s works as a broadcast host and analyst on Fox 2 Detroit, Fox Sports Detroit, Comcast Sports, and sports radio station 97.1 FM “The Ticket.” Ron also currently serves as a team trials Defensive Backs coach and talent evaluator for USA Football and co-founder of Michigan Elite Athletics. He also serves as President of the NFL Alumni Association – Detroit Chapter and is Director of the National Football League Alumni Foundation.
“I'm very grateful to be recognized by the Catholic League in representing UD Jesuit, my former teammates, and coaches. I stand proud along side a rich history of great individuals who have proceeded me.” – Ron Rice ‘90
Jordan Morgan, a 2009 graduate of U of D Jesuit, played four years of varsity basketball at U of D Jesuit under head coaches Curt Rotter and Pat Donnelly. Jordan also played varsity baseball at U of D Jesuit his freshman and sophomore years.
While on the U of D Jesuit basketball team, Jordan led the Cubs to a 45-24 record, including a 17-4 record in 2009. Jordan was instrumental in leading the basketball team to the Catholic League Basketball Finals in 2007, the school’s first appearance in 15 years. Jordan’s senior year at U of D Jesuit was a banner year, as he averaged 20 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks per game. As a result of his senior campaign, he was named to the Detroit Free Press All-State (third team), All-Detroit, and All-Catholic teams. Jordan was also nominated for the McDonald’s All-American game and was awarded the Sam Madden Boys’ Basketball Scholar-Athlete Award by the Catholic League in 2009.
After graduating from U of D Jesuit, Jordan has played basketball at the University of Michigan, leading the program’s resurgence during his five-year stay in Ann Arbor. During his playing career, Jordan has earned numerous accolades, including being named to the All-Big Ten Defensive Team as a junior, first Academic All-Big Ten, and being the second Cub to be named Captain of the Michigan Basketball team for his senior season. But arguably Jordan’s biggest accomplishment is that he leaves the Michigan Basketball program tied for first for the most wins in a career at 102, with four NCAA tournament appearances, two Big Ten Championships, two Elite Eight appearances, and one Final Four appearance. For his career, Jordan appeared in 142 games and shot over 63% from the field.
Jordan was recently honored as one of five NCAA Division I basketball players to be named to the Allstate “Good Works” team in 2014 for his community involvement, such as at U of M’s Mott Children’s Hospital "From the Heart" Program, working clinics for high school boys, high school girls, and coaches in Ivory Coast, speaking at Huron Hills Church on faith in sports and life, currently working with Groundcover newspaper, and helping with Meals on Wheels, delivering lunches to the community, to name some of his community work. Truly, Jordan continues to live out the U of D Jesuit ideal of being a “Man for Others.”
For many people, Rick Bennetts is U of D Jesuit hockey, having been the Varsity Head Coach of the program since 1995, when the sport was resurrected after a 58-year absence. Rick has been the driving force behind building the program into what it is today – a perennial top 10 program, competing in the toughest hockey league in Michigan (Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League or MIHL) and playing up into Division I level in the MHSAA state tournament.
During his coaching career, Rick has won 236 games, four MHSAA Regional titles, and led U of D Jesuit to three MHSAA “Frozen Four” appearances. He has also guided the Cubs to a MIHL title in 2009 and two division titles while in the Michigan Prep Hockey League in 1999 and 2000. But if you ask Rick what he’s most proud of, he would say his players and their accomplishments: 37 All-State hockey players, 22 Juniors/College players, and 38 ACHL college hockey players. His hockey teams have been named Academic All-State every year since the program’s resurrection and have been named the #1 Academic Team in the state eight times during the span.
Rick has served as a school and college counselor at U of D Jesuit since 1996, always going out of his way to help the students at U of D Jesuit anyway possible and always doing it with a smile. As a stalwart in the Detroit travel and prep hockey scene, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who can say a bad work about Rick as a counselor, mentor, or coach. His commitment to service is seen daily by drivers on Vernier Road in Harper Woods, where the hockey program has adopted to clean a portion of the road for over a decade. And certainly, no one can argue that Rick is a true gentleman and a great ambassador for high school hockey and U of D Jesuit throughout Michigan.
“It is a tremendous and humbling honor and privilege to be inducted into the Catholic League Hall of Fame. Over the past 19 years at U of D Jesuit High School and Academy, I have been extremely fortunate to have been involved with a tremendous group of student athletes, wonderfully supportive parents, coaches, administrators and family who have made coaching the hockey team a tremendous joy. I will do all I can to represent U of D Jesuit and the Catholic League in the best way possible. I look forward to continuing to coach at U of D Jesuit in the years to come." – Rick Bennetts, U of D Jesuit Head Hockey Coach
The Catholic League Hall of Fame Dinner will be held at the Fernhill Golf Club in Clinton Township on June 9, 2014 - ticket information will be released shortly.