Turn of the century novelist Thomas Wolfe once said, “You can’t go home again.”
But that belief is in doubt around here. In fact, four McKinney Independent School District graduates found that exact opportunity presented to them as new 2013-14 coaching hires by the MISD athletics department.
“It feels like home,” Tara Snead, a 2003 graduate of McKinney High School.
For many graduates of the district, their high school years were when they learned valuable life lessons – lessons they carried with them through college and into their professional lives.
Snead, who played softball at McKinney High and then at North Central Texas College and Midwestern, will be on the softball coaching staff at McKinney Boyd this season. She said it feels “welcoming” to be back in McKinney and see so many former players that are still coaching.
She said she learned tradition and the value of being “high achievers” in McKinney, and those are traits she hopes to pass down to her athletes.
While some, like Snead, knew coming back to McKinney was an option, Colin Bado said coming back to McKinney was something he never would have envisioned.
“I never would have thought that,” Bado, a 2004 graduate of McKinney North said of returning to the district. “This is my third career so to speak, and I’ve come full circle – I never would have thought that would happen.”
During his tenure at North, Bado played football, which he also played at Missouri Southern. He will be coaching freshman football in 2013 at Boyd.
Prior to returning to McKinney, Bado was working as a sous chef at a restaurant in San Francisco, but said after having an “awakening” around a year ago, he knew he wanted to something more “self-fulfilling” and find a way to contribute to society.
And the best way he knew how was through coaching.
Bado said along with teaching the game of football, his role is to build a foundation that his students will carry with them, just as he did around 10 years ago.
He noted he can remember going to football camps at 8 and 10 years old with Shawn Pratt, which he said set the foundation for the rest of his life.
“I owe everything to that foundation,” he said.
Setting the foundation is also what 2006 graduate of McKinney High School C.J. Shelton said is his goal upon returning to coach a new crop of high school athletes.
Shelton, who played soccer at MHS and attended Stephen F. Austin University, is coaching cross country at MHS, and he said the impact a coach or teacher can have on a young adult is very profound, and something that can change a student’s life.
“It’s pretty profound when you sit down and think about something I might say off the cuff, I’ll forget it 10 second later, and some kid might remember it for the rest of his life,” Shelton said.
Shelton added the trait he wants his students to take from him is having accountability and “how blessed they are, through sports and extracurriculars, to make a difference and make an impact.”
Shelton also said that fulfilling a role through sport and teaching competition are tools that can help students down the road, putting them in a “perfect position” to succeed.
The funny thing is, Shelton’s return to McKinney High School wasn’t exactly welcomed by his former teachers, he said, who are still teaching in the district and let him know that his hire is “making them feel older.”
And for some, like 1997 McKinney High School graduate Zach Wiggins, returning to MISD has always been an option.
“Its always been on the back of my mind,” Wiggins said.
Wiggins, who attended Texas Tech and is now coaching football and basketball at Faubion Middle School, said after getting laid off in the business world, “I knew exactly what I wanted to do,” which was return to McKinney to coach athletes.
Wiggins said the main difference between coaching middle school and high school students is the importance placed on basic ground work and simple technique.
But, no matter what level he’s coaching, he said the one thing all athletes can use is persistence and hard work, because they will reap the benefits of it in the future.