Mike Dame Named Lake Erie League Commissioner
The Lake Erie League Announced the hiring of Veteran Official Michael Dame as Commissioner. Former Commissioner Fred Heyer passed away suddenly in late November and the league was left without an individual to lead them but leading is something that Mike is very familiar with as he has been the President of both the Greater Cleveland Football Officials Association and Suburban Umpires Association for a number of years. “ I have big shoes to fill, but the work starts today! I am honored to be a part of the tradition of the Lake Erie League,” Dame Said. Mike has been a Football Official for over 20 years and has officiated 3 State Final Games and 9 Consecutive State Semi-Finial Games as well. Plus he is also a Baseball and Track Official (Baseball – 18 Years & Track – 3 Years). “ I am excited to take on this role and continue to give back to interscholastic athletics. High School Sports were a big part of my life growing up, knowing what sports means to the kids, coaches and communities is why i enjoy giving back,” Dame said
Mike will take over the responsibilities of the Lake Erie League in the coming days and this is no easy task to take over a league in the middle of the year but he is ready to lead and already has plans to help expand the league into the new year with his leadership. “My immediate goal is to be a presence at League events, getting to know the programs and of course League Expansion is near the top of the list for all of us in the Lake Erie League, “ Dame said.
The Lake Erie League has added two schools the past two years with Garfield Heights (Winter 2019) and Shaker Heights (Fall 2020) to make eight total schools in the league.
Media Requests for Mike Dame should be directed towards the Lake Erie League Sports Information Director, Brian Raymont via email (Lakeerieleaguesid@gmail.com)
History of Lake Erie League:
The history of the Lake Erie League (LEL) dates back to 1918 when Shaw, Lakewood, Cleveland Heights and University School joined to form the “Quad League”. In 1920 University School dropped from the league and was replaced by Rocky River. In 1928 Lorain and Elyria joined to make it six schools and the “Lake Erie League” became the official name. In 1932 Rocky River dropped out leaving the number of schools at five. In 1936 Shaker Heights left the Eastern Conference and joined the league, bringing the number of schools back to six.
For the next fifteen years, Shaw, Lakewood, Cleveland Heights, Lorain, Elyria and Shaker Heights comprised the six-team league. In 1951, Euclid applied for membership and was accepted, raising the number of schools to seven. Two years later, in 1953, Lorain and Elyria dropped out, again making it a five-team league. Parma was then admitted in 1955 as a sixth member. With the start of the 1962 school year, Brush and Valley Forge were admitted, becoming the seventh and eighth schools. In 1966, Garfield Heights and Normandy were admitted to the league effective with the 1968-69 school year, which made the LEL a ten-team league.
In 1973, Euclid and Brush withdrew to join the Eastern Greater Cleveland conference effective for the 1975-76 school year. Also, in 1973 Normandy, Parma and Valley Forge withdrew form the LEL to join with Berea and Midpark schools. Soon after, Lakewood and Garfield Heights joined with the three Parma Schools and two Berea schools making a total of seven schools. Later, in 1973, these seven schools realigned themselves with Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and Shaw to form the “new” Lake Erie League”, which began activities in the 1975-76 school year.
In 1978-79, Berea and Midpark dropped out of the league and in 1986-87, Garfield dropped out of the league also. In 1992, the seven Lake Erie League member schools voted to expand to ten teams including Garfield Heights, Mentor and Warrensville Heights commencing with the 1993-94 school year. In 1997, Elyria entered the league and in 1998, Bedford, Maple Heights and Euclid became members of the LEL.
Members voted in 2002-03 to add Admiral King and Southview, bringing the league total to sixteen members. However, in 2004-04, Elyria, Normandy, Parma and Valley Forge withdrew, leaving the league with twelve members. In 2006-07, Lakewood and Garfield Heights withdrew, leaving ten members. In 2010 Southview merged with Admiral King and the school is now called Lorain HS. Warren Harding also joined the league in 2010. In 2011 Mentor dropped out of the league. In 2012, Shaker Hts. dropped out of the league. In 2014 Warren Harding dropped out of the league. In 2015 Euclid joined the new GCC league. In 2017, Lutheran East joined the league. There are now 7 member schools. In 2019 Lutheran East dropped out of the league and Garfield Hts. rejoined the league, still with 7 members. In 2020, Shaker Hts will be rejoining the LEL to bring the league back up to 8 member schools.