BOSTON – When Bob McDonald was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame this week, he didn’t go in alone. He shared the experience with his family, the thousands of boys who played on his basketball teams over a 59-year coaching career, and everyone back home in Chisholm.
McDonald’s four sons and two daughters – all of whom became basketball coaches – and several grandchildren traveled here for Wednesday’s 32nd annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Marriott Copley Place Hotel. The events also included a dinner in McDonald’s honor with board members and staff of the MSHSL on Monday and a news conference for all 12 of this year’s inductees on Tuesday.
At the news conference, the inductees sat on a dais and a moderator from the National Federation of State High School Associations introduced each of them by reading a short biography. Before questions were asked by those in attendance, each inductee gave a brief statement.
McDonald’s statement began with these words, delivered in the soft yet thunderous baritone voice that is so well-known in Minnesota: “My name is Bob McDonald and I’m from Chisholm, Minnesota.”
That said it all. McDonald, 81, will forever be remembered as the coach from Chisholm -- his hometown -- who set high standards for his players as well as the community. His influence has extended to other schools all over Minnesota, with his strict adherence to short hair, high socks, fair play, hard work, a minimum of guff and shared recognition. (Pictured are McDonald and MSHSL executive director Dave Stead during the ceremony.)
When it was mentioned by the news conference moderator that McDonald had never been called for a technical foul over the course of 59 seasons and 1,440 games, fellow inductee and former NBA all-star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway stood, smiled and applauded.
At the MSHSL dinner, McDonald was given an MSHSL gold medal and blue ribbon. Engraved on the back of the medal were the words “Bob McDonald, MSHSL Champion, June 30, 2014.”
McDonald is the 12th person from Minnesota to be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame. Here is the list of Minnesotans and the year they were inducted:
1986: John Mayasich, hockey
1987: Janet Karvonen, basketball
1989: Bronko Nagurski, football
1992: Jerry Seeman, officiating
1992: Willard Ikola, hockey
1998: Paul Giel, football and baseball
2000: Kevin McHale, basketball
2003: Dorothy McIntyre, administration
2007: Terry Steinbach, baseball and hockey
2008: Barb Seng, speech
2009: Billy Bye, multiple sports
2014: Bob McDonald, basketball
Wednesday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held in a hotel ballroom. After dinner, each of the new inductees was featured in a video shown on giant screens on either side of the stage. McDonald’s video was filmed April 29 inside Roel Gymnasium in Chisholm, the 1921 crackerbox that is the home of the Bluestreaks.
During the video, McDonald talked about his career, his memories and the people from back home that mean so much to him.
“I’m carrying all those people on my shoulders, (people) that were backing me up,” he said. “A lot of them are gone now. I never lacked a sense of pride in Chisholm and those people were part of that.”
Following the induction ceremony, an autograph session for the new Hall of Famers was held in the hotel. (Pictured are McDonald and his wife Carol.)
The National High School Hall of Fame is operated by the National Federation of State High School Associations. The 2014 Hall of Fame class was headlined by former Cleveland Browns tight end Ozzie Newsome from Alabama and Hardaway from Tennessee.
Joining Newsome and Hardaway as athletes in the 2014 class were Casey Blake, a four-sport star at Indianola (Iowa) High School who had a 13-year professional baseball career; Michael Devereaux, a four-sport standout at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper, Wyoming, who enjoyed a 12-year professional baseball career; and Suzy Powell, a basketball and track and field star at Thomas Downey High School in Modesto, California, who competed in three Olympic Games.
Also inducted were McDonald and three other high school coaches, one contest official, one administrator and one from the performing arts.
The other high school coaches were Morgan Gilbert, who retired last year from Tuckerman (Arkansas) High School after winning more than 1,000 games as both a basketball coach and baseball coach during a 48-year career; Katie Horstman, who started the girls sports program at Minster (Ohio) High School in 1972 and led the girls track team to eight state championships; and Frank Pecora, who becomes Vermont’s first inductee in the National High School Hall of Fame after leading Northfield High School to 15 state baseball championships.
Other members of the 2014 induction class are George Demetriou, a football and baseball official from Colorado Springs, Colorado, who is a state and national officiating leader in both sports; Sheryl Solberg, a state and national leader in the development of girls athletics programs during her 34 years as assistant to the executive secretary of the North Dakota High School Activities Association; and Randy Pierce, a state and national debate leader who coached debate at Pattonville High School in Maryland Heights, Missouri, for almost 40 years before retiring in 2012.