McAnally: ‘Anybody in this business is in it for the kids’

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 4, 2000

It must take a great lover of sports to coach a high school team. To put in the hours of practice, work through the raging hormones of teenagers and deal with the sometimes greater rage of their parents; a love of the game must be all that keeps a coach going.

Hogwash, says Huntington softball coach Michael McAnally.

&uot;Anybody in this business is in it for the kids,&uot; McAnally said. &uot;The most rewarding thing in the world is to work with a kid and watch her learn and grow, and get better each day.&uot;

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McAnally majored in business administration at Ole Miss, but his desire to coach led him into education, he said.

&uot;I decided to do what I wanted to do,&uot; he said. &uot;If you have to get up and go to work every day, you might as well do something you love.&uot;

McAnally first got the coaching bug working with youth baseball leagues in his home town of Jackson, he said.

&uot;Working with girls has truly been a learning experience,&uot; he said of his new gig.

But softball is only one of the sports he will coach at Huntington, as he will also coach junior varsity basketball, assist with varsity basketball and be the head coach of the baseball team come spring.

That is in addition, of course, to his teaching duties, as he teaches Algebra 2, computer applications and keyboarding.

With that kind of schedule, it is not surprising that McAnally has no hobbies outside of coaching.

&uot;Everybody’s surprised when I say I don’t hunt,&uot; he said. &uot;My dad never hunted, so I never hunted. I was pretty much just a jock growing up.&uot;

Jock or not, McAnally knows his role as a coach.

&uot;A team will follow the attitude and mindset of the coach,&uot; he said. &uot;If I’m enthusiastic and fired up, then the team will be enthusiastic and fired up. I need to set a positive example for the team.&uot;

Sometimes keeping a positive outlook can be trying, especially when confronted with the less than pleasant aspects of coaching, McAnally said.

&uot;The toughest thing is not being able to play all your players all the time,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s tough to look down that bench and see a player with her head down.

&uot;It’s nothing personal — I have to do what’s best for the team,&uot; he said. &uot;But at this age, it’s hard for them to understand that you have to make that decision.&uot;

The one thing McAnally most wants to impart on his charges, he said, is a sense of teamwork.

&uot;Softball has some individual elements — you’re by yourself on the mound, or you’re by yourself at the plate — but it’s still a team sport,&uot; he said. &uot;The most talented team doesn’t always win. Sometimes it’s the team with that certain chemistry and cohesiveness.

&uot;If we play as a team and come third or fourth in the state, that’s fine by me.&uot;