Recognizing Community Leaders and Dedication to the Region

The spirit of John Hugus lives on in the hearts and minds of CXC members. Each year, CXC remembers John Hugus's contributions to the cross-country community by recognizing a leader for their dedication to the sport in the region.

The community was core to John Hugus' principles - his home community of Wausau, Wis., and the greater community of cross country skiing. As a high school coach in Wausau, he was a motivational influence on his athletes. But he believed in spreading community: founding the Knicker Nordic Ski Club, leading the Wisconsin Nordic League, providing wisdom on CXC committees and its board, serving as a Junior Nationals coach, or just hanging out at 9 Mile Recreation Area helping kids enjoy cross country skiing. He shared his influence with other coaches through the Wisconsin High School Coaches League and CXC. All of those around him valued John's core beliefs and principles. Hugus passed at the age of 57 in 2013 after a 17-year battle with cancer.

This year’s recipient of the John Hugus Community Leadership Award goes to MIKE ABBOTT.

Mike Abbott
Photo Credit: Thomas Smith, MTU

The deserving recipient of The John Hugus Leadership Award is Mike Abbott, a long-time respected and influential member of the Michigan Technological University (MTU) community. One of the pioneers of the project that brought 60k of beautiful MTU trails and facilities into existence, Mike has been integrated in all aspects of sport development, implementation, and accessibility at MTU. He helped create the University’s Nordic Ski Club and helped pioneer what is today the Outdoor Adventure Program. Mike was a member of the Michigan Tech Nordic Race Organizing Committee (OC), and served on every Championship Race OC since the first national event at the Tech Trails in 2003. He has served as the Chief of Competition for multiple Championships, and served on the committee at six U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships as well as at the 2006 Junior Olympics. At MTU, he served as the Director of Sports & Recreation, Director of H-Stem Planning & Operations, and Director of the Great Lakes Research Center Operations.

Mike has been referred to as “the grandfather of skiing at Michigan Tech” for his wide influence in the ski community, and is known to be the first to arrive, and the last to leave when he’s helping at ski events. Thank you, Mike! 

Past Award Recipients:

  • Ted Theyerl (2019)
  • Vasa Ski Club (2018)
  • Ben Popp (2017)
  • John Munger (2016)
  • Don Becker (2015)
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