Nevada will miss you Coach McKinley
This Friday, Dec. 20, will mark the end of a career for Kevin McKinley, who has had a lasting impact on students, faculty and athletes in the Nevada R-5 School District through his roles as a teacher, administrator and coach for the past 27 years.
I have had a relationship with Coach McKinley since the fall of 1992 when I was a freshman at Nevada High School. At that time Coach McKinley was teaching at the high school and coaching freshman football and basketball. Where Coach left a lasting impact with many 14- and 15-year-old boys in the early 1990s was at 6 a.m. basketball practices at NHS. Coach McKinley had a coaching style that, by his own admission, may be frowned upon today. I would describe his coaching style as a cross between the hard-nosed coaching style of Bobby Knight mixed with the life lessons coaching style of John Wooden.
He opened the eyes of many 14- and 15-year-old boys in the early 1990s by making us do many bear crawls and sprints for our mistakes, and maybe even a few extra motivational speeches after a poor half, game, practice, or possible mistake in school.
Where he earned the respect of his players though, was through his end of practice or game speeches where he had a great ability to teach and motivate a team on how to do things the right way the next time, not only on a basketball court, but any other challenge you may face in life. That didn't mean he always praised you. Sometimes athletes and students have to learn from a little tough love, and Coach had a great ability to provide an appropriate mix of both love and discipline.
Coach McKinley also served as NHS assistant principal for a few years. I am sure one of his more memorable experiences came when a student came to school in the spring of 1996 with blue hair, which ultimately led to a school walkout/protest. He served as NHS Student Council sponsor for several years in the 1990s, always rallying the students to have massive food drives for Community Outreach and his councils were recognized several times as all-state honor councils. The past 15+ years he has served as the NHS athletic director, helping guide the district through a difficult time when the Southwest Conference dissolved. His persistence in getting us back into a conference played a key role in getting Nevada into the West Central Conference starting in the 2014 school year. It will be nice to see our student athletes once again compete for conference championships and postseason awards.
At this time I would like to thank Coach McKinley for his dedication to the Crimson and Gray and for the years of service he spent shaping the lives of the young people in our community.
I had several great coaches and teachers in my days at NHS, but Coach McKinley will always rate right at the top of the list. Nevada will miss you and your family and we wish you well in Northwest Arkansas.
NHS Class of 1996