Bob McDonald has accomplished more and received more accolades than possibly any coach in Minnesota history. And the Chisholm High School boys basketball coach – who will retire after this season with a state-record 1,000-plus victories in 59 seasons – learned this week that he will receive the highest high school athletic honor in the country.
McDonald will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame.
McDonald received a phone call from the National Federation of State High School Associations office in Indianapolis, informing him of the honor. The induction ceremony will be held July 2 in Boston as part of the NFHS annual convention at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, where high school governing bodies from all 50 states will gather. The MSHSL nominated McDonald for the Hall of Fame; he was unaware of the nomination until this week.
“It is a great honor,” McDonald said. “I will be there. I’m not much for travel and not much for fame, either. I’ll have to rev up my wife and see if she’ll go with me.”
McDonald, a native of Chisholm, began his coaching career at McGregor in 1955. He moved to Barnum in 1959 and returned to Chisholm to become head coach in 1961. His career record is 1,011-427, making him one of only 13 high school boys basketball coaches in the country with more than 1,000 victories.
In 53 years as coach of the Bluestreaks, his teams have had only six losing seasons. He has taken 11 teams to the state tournament and won state championships in 1973, 1975 and 1991. All six of his children became basketball coaches. Currently, Mike is the boys coach at Cambridge-Isanti, Tom is the boys coach at Ely, Joel is the boys coach at Hibbing and Paul is the men’s coach at Vermilion Community College in Ely as well as an MSHSL basketball official.
New members of the Hall of Fame are inducted in a formal ceremony that caps the annual NFHS convention. Other members of the Class of 2014 are expected to be announced by the NFHS next week. A dozen members are inducted each year.
Male inductees wear tuxedos for the Hall of Fame ceremony, to which McDonald said with a laugh, “I don’t know if I can take that, coming from the sticks.”
He will become the 12th Minnesotan inducted into the Hall of Fame. The others are:
Billy Bye, Thief River Falls/Anoka, multiple sports (2009)
Barb Seng, Henry Sibley/White Bear Lake/MSHSL, fine arts (2008)
Terry Steinbach, New Ulm, baseball/hockey (2007)
Dorothy McIntyre, Eden Prairie/MSHSL, pioneer/administrator (2003)
Kevin McHale, Hibbing, basketball (2000)
Paul Giel, Winona, multiple sports (1998)
Willard Ikola, Edina, hockey (1992)
Jerry Seeman, official (1992)
Bronko Nagurski, International Falls, football (1989)
Janet Karvonen, New York Mills, basketball (1987)
John Mayasich, Eveleth, hockey (1986)
Other members of the Hall of Fame include Jesse Owens, Larry Bird, John Wooden, Red Grange, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Paul Hornung, Bart Starr, Jackie Robinson, Steve Prefontaine, Joe Theismann, Fred Hoiberg and many others.
McDonald was inducted into the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1990 and the MSHSL Hall of Fame in 2013.
The Chisholm basketball team finished the regular season with a record of 17-8 and will open postseason play Thursday night against Cherry in Coleraine.
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 323
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 8,412
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn