UNIVERSITY LIGGETT SCHOOL \ ATHLETICS
The University Liggett School’s football program strives for excellence both on and off the field. Our program’s culture is built on the “Knight Code,” in which each student-athlete commits to building a team-first mentality and environment. The football program strongly encourages its players to compete in multiple sports and co-curricular activities while at Liggett.
Coach bio: Matt Lapolla joined the Liggett community as the Upper School Dean of Students in 2021. He has coached football for the last 13 years after finishing his collegiate playing career at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, where he earned a degree in Economics. He also holds a Masters of Education in Independent School Leadership from Vanderbilt University. Coach Lapolla has previously coached at The Pennington School in NJ (WR/LB Coach), The Williston Northampton School in MA (Offensive and Defensive Line Coach), and the Severn School in MD (Offensive Coordinator). His players have gone on to play professionally and collegiately at all levels. Lapolla embraces the multi-sport athlete principle and encourages his student-athletes to participate in as many areas of the school community as possible.
Liggett’s Field Hockey program is considered to be one of the strongest in the state year after year. Known for being strong competitors, field hockey players value having a great time while learning and working hard. Coaches and players pride themselves on fostering a very positive team culture and having a tight-knit field hockey family. The team has a rich history, as Liggett was one of the first schools in Michigan to have a field hockey team. The varsity team continues to be a dominant state power, winning state championships in 2020, 2018, and 1996.
Coach bio: Amanda Amine began coaching in 2010, began coaching field hockey in 2012, and started coaching field hockey at Liggett in 2018. She is a Regina High School graduate and attended University of Detroit Mercy with a degree in Business Administration, concentrating in Sports Management. She also assists in the basketball program. Amine considers herself “a players coach,” and really enjoys coaching and getting to know the girls at more than just a player-coach level. Coach Amine led the girls’ to the 2020 state championship and was an assistant when they also won the title in 2018.
Boys’ soccer is an extremely positive and welcoming environment. The JV and varsity teams practice together, with the coaching staff working to get each player as much practice and game time as possible. The team has had great success on the field in recent years, but the chemistry between players and sense of community within the teams is perhaps its biggest source of pride. In 2021 the team won Catholic League and District Championships, and in 2019 the team finished as State Runner-Up, Regional Champions, and Catholic League Champions. Liggett boys’ soccer has won four State Championships in program history.
Coach bio: David Dwaihy has been a University Liggett School boys’ and girls’ varsity soccer coach since 2002. Dwaihy initially worked as an assistant coach under Michigan High School Athletic Association hall-of-fame coach David Backhurst for many years before taking over head coaching duties in 2015. Dwaihy is also an Upper School math teacher at University Liggett School and co-owner and director of soccer operations of Detroit City FC. Dwaihy also played soccer while at Kalamazoo College, an NCAA Division III school, earning All-Region and Academic All-American honors as a junior and senior. In 2020, Head Coach David Dwaihy was named one of 100 Regional Coaches of the Year in the USA by the Positive Coaching Alliance.
Cross Country is a coed sport in which boys and girls train together but compete in separate races. Runners compete in 5K races against teams from across the state at a variety of parks and geographically diverse locations. The girls’ cross country team won the 2021 MHSAA Regional Championship, and the boys were Regional Runner-Up in 2021. Both the full girls’ and boys’ teams qualified and competed at the 2021 State Championship at the Michigan International Speedway.
The girls’ swim team follows a unique model in which we partner with Regina High School to form a co-op team since ULS does not have a competition pool on campus. In the last couple of years, the team has had between 10 and 15 girls who represent the program. Liggett consistently qualifies girls and relay teams for the State Championship, where they have experienced much success. Sophie Housey (‘19) and Ginger McMahon (‘22) are both two-time individual State Champions.
Chris Cornell (Head Coach)
Boys’ tennis is the most successful program in school history, with 38 State Championships since 1933. In 2021 the team won the Regional Championship for the ninth time in a row and was State Runner-Up. In 2020 the team won the Regional Championship for the eighth time in a row. Boys’ tennis also has dozens of individual State Champions, most recently William Cooksey (‘21), who won four straight individual State Championships from 2017-2020. In 2022, the team won the State Championship.
Coach bio: Mark Sobieralski entered the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2017 and has nearly 40 years of coaching experience and continues to add to the total. He has won 6 team state championships, including two for Liggett’s boys. Mark has been recognized on both the state and national level receiving 8 Coach of the Year awards. He has also put in time for the sport of tennis itself, spending time on the Michigan High School Tennis Association Board of Directors, as President of the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association and founding the Macomb County Coaches association.Sobieralski has dedicated his life to coaching and the sport of tennis. He works to instill honesty and competition into the game and ensures his teams are well coached and have a respect for the game and opponents.
In 2021 volleyball was Liggett’s largest group of girls in a fall sport. The goal of the program is to teach the game and encourage hard work and hustle. As the team is growing, in addition to the varsity squad, the program has two JV teams. Liggett has won countless District Championships over the years, most recently in 2019.