BLOOMFIELD HILLS – The Michigan swimming world suffered a significant loss on Tuesday as former Bloomfield Hills Lahser coach Mike Rado passed away after a two-year battle with brain cancer.
Bloomfield Hills High School sent out a press release Thursday acknowledging the passing of the former Knights coach at age 58.
“Rado coached his athletes with tough love, support and a focus to be a great athlete, but also a great person,” the press release read. “His presence on the pool deck has been felt for five decades. As an athlete, he won state titles, Big Ten titles and so many great races. He has won numerous coaching awards, been honored by coach’s associations and contributed immensely to high school swimming and diving. But, what he will be remembered for most are the life lessons he taught, the stories he shared and time he spent with all of us.”
A state champion swimmer in high school for Farmington Hills Harrison, Rado would also become a Big Ten champion in 1977 while swimming for Michigan State University.
He spent his entire coaching career with Lahser and led the program to great success over his decades as coach. Rado was a 2011 Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee and was most recently the MISCA Zone and State Coach of the Year in 2013.
Rado coached Lahser in its final season as a program, leading the girls to a second-placed finish at the Division 3 finals while leading the boys to a fourth-place finish.
“When it came to coaching, Mike looked at his fellow coaches more as associates with respect about our common interest in working with the kids, than he ever did as opponents. That was his first priority, his swimming family was his life and he endured many personal sacrifices servicing his kids’ best interest,” Mercy girls and Catholic Central boys swim coach Shannon Dunworth said of Rado. “His last two seasons while having undergone brain surgery, chemo and radiation, his outlook was amazing and his concern for his swimmers never lost focus.”
Rado moved to Arizona not long ago to be with his family as he continued his battle with brain cancer. He passed away peacefully on Tuesday with his family by his side.
His name was still often heard amongst the Bloomfield Hills swim program this season even though he was not there. His name was used as motivation to the former Lahser swimmers that knew him and knew his messages.
“I believe he knew that he wouldn't see the end of this last season, and rather than burden the team or compromise their season, he made the difficult decision to remove himself from the area so as not to be a distraction. Of that I have no doubt,” Dunworth, who also swam against Rado in high school and college, said. “He was a great coach and mentor to thousands, and a true friend to all that knew him.”
Rado’s wishes were to not have a funeral or memorial service. Anyone wishing to pay tribute to Rado has been asked to make a donation in his name to the National Brain Tumor Society (www.braintumor.org)