The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

High School Sports

March 30, 2013

Coach leaves basketball job with McDonald County

LaDonna McClain, for a few minutes, sounded like a basketball coach looking forward to next season on Friday night.

But the girls coach at McDonald County High School insisted she was stepping down after five years at the helm.

“We have some good kids returning. ... a good, young, nucleus,” McClain said. “We’ll be in the Big 8 Conference, too. I believe we’ll be successful. I believe it’s an attractive situation.

“I will always be a Mustang fan,” McClain said. “I feel blessed that I started here (as a player) and ended here.”

So, why is McClain stepping down?

“I’ve been coaching a long, long time,” she said.

“No, that isn’t the main reason,” she quickly added with a laugh.

The reasons basically are sons Eli, 9, and, Dalton, 8.

“They play everything,” McClain said. “Both play football. Both play baseball. Both play basketball. They travel.”

And, of course, dad (Andy) and mom tag along.

“I was missing a lot of activities,” McClain said. “Basketball (for a coach) is a year-round sport. It was a compromise I wasn’t willing to make.”

Thus, John Whitehead, the Mustangs’ athletic director, is seeking a coach and can be reached at 417-845-3322.

“I still plan to teach at McDonald County,” McClain said. “I don’t want to leave McDonald County. I’m very grateful for all my time here.

“I’ve been fortunate. I’ve had great mentors (in McDonald County) from Ron Copher at Southwest City and Jerry Davis in high school,” McClain said.

McClain, formerly Wilson, graduated from McDonald County High School in 1983. She played basketball at Missouri Southern for Jim Phillips and was a student assistant for him a year before they headed for Austin Peay University in Clarksville, Tenn.

McClain, whose husband is from Clarksville, believes she worked for Phillips two years before taking the reins for eight. Then it was two years at Nevada-Las Vegas before moving to high school.

Her first prep job was for six years at Montgomery Central in Cunningham, Tenn. The family then moved to Missouri with her coaching at Crane (1) and Seneca (3) before McDonald County.

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