Timothy McMullen’s fingerprints and influence are all over the St. Cloud High School’s athletic program.
So it’s only fitting that his name be all over the school’s gym court — and it will be as of tonight, Monday night.
Who’s that? We’re talking about “Coach Mac”, who passed away from a heart attack in May 2017 during school in his gym office at age 60.
That name, and the man behind it who helped instill a culture of hard work and maximizing the talent of every athlete he coaches, will be right there, in maroon, for all to see prior to the Lady Bulldogs’ basketball game against Osceola. A short ceremony will be at 6:15, followed by St. Cloud’s Senior Night festivities and tip-off of the game.
Players will don “Protect the Mac” warm-up t-shirts as they take to “Coach Mac Court”, part of a $20,000 renovation just completed in the school gym.
Of course, the unveiling happens prior to a St. Cloud-Osceola game. McMullen coached in many hardcourt battles between the two rival schools since arriving in town in 1984. Mac coached boys and girls basketball, track, cross country and tennis at SCHS, but it was his life lessons that applied in sports AND life that resonated around town.
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog,” he’d say (and you probably read that in Mac’s gruff, gravely voice). You’d also hear him yelling at his players on defense, “Guts! We’re in guts!” thinking it meant a stifling, hip-on-hip full-court defense. (It wasn’t until his memorial service that many found out G.U.T.S. was an acronym — Go Until They Surrender).
McMullen coached and taught through the gut-wrenching loss of his daughter Jessica, a budding basketball star who practiced the scrappy, tough lessons her dad preached before perishing in a car accident the summer of 2004 prior to her junior year.
Lady Bulldogs Coach Chad Ansbaugh is a Coach Mac disciple, and despite his players being years removed from seeing Mac on a sideline, they understand and live the influence.
“I had both teams sit around the Coach Mac logo and explained what he meant to us coaches and how we should always honor him by how we play,” Ansbaugh said of a practice last week. “Needless to say, we had a spirited workout.”