One final honor for Chisholm coach Bob McDonald
Basketball was invented in the state of Massachusetts and the Boston Celtics provided the NBA with its share of highlights over the course of a generation or two.
So perhaps it’s fitting that Bob McDonald, a traditional coach with traditional values, will be in the tradition-laden city Wednesday night to receive an award that puts a cap on a high school boys basketball coaching career that saw him win more games than any coach in Minnesota prep annals.
The 80-year-old McDonald, who won 1,012 games in a 59-year career — the final 53 at Chisholm High School — is one of 12 people being inducted into the National Federation of High Schools Hall of Fame at the Boston Marriott Copley Place.
“I never thought I would see this and it kind of came as a surprise,” McDonald said. “I guess if you’re around long enough, something good might happen.”
Lots of good happened under McDonald at Chisholm, where the Bluestreaks made 11 state tournament appearances and won Class A state championships in 1973, 1975 and 1991.
Perhaps of more importance to the venerable McDonald was coaching all four of his sons at Chisholm, three of whom — Mike, Paul and Joel — were stars on title-winning teams. Those three, plus Tom and daughters Sue and Judy went on to coach the sport as well.
All six children, five of their spouses, Bob’s wife Carol, and even a few grandchildren made the trip to Boston on Sunday to watch the family patriarch go into the 32nd NFHS Hall of Fame class along with such standouts as former NBA player Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and former NFL star Ozzie Newsome.
“I’ve got the whole mob going so they’ll be adequate representation,” said the elder McDonald, who has never traveled to Boston before. “I thought it would be worth the expense to have them go with me and see a place, chances are, they’ll never see again.”
During the 2013-14 season, McDonald joined the likes of the legendary Morgan Wootten and Bob Hurley as one of only 13 boys basketball coaches to surpass 1,000 career victories. He stands 12th on the list.
“When you are one of 13 people who have accomplished something in any endeavor, like he has with his 1,000th win, it’s pretty crazy,” said Joel McDonald, who coaches at rival Hibbing. “Anyone within the realm of basketball in this state likely would identify his name with the sport.”
A video presentation of McDonald’s career will precede his induction, but the talkative octogenarian won’t have the floor long for any speeches. He promises it will be short and sweet, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the noted quipster tosses in a one-liner or two.
“I just hope they don’t toss me in the ocean like the tea,” he said.