TIME TO BE DAD
McKinney resigns after 14 seasons, 190 wins with Lynx
I’m not happy today and you shouldn’t be either. Why? Because Webster City has lost another of its fantastic coaches, and this is one of the best.
But I get it. Really, I do.
After 14 seasons, 190 victories and three North Central Conference championships, Marty McKinney has resigned as the WCHS head boys’ basketball coach. He told the team members last week and officially sent his resignation letter to the administration earlier this week.
“It has been an honor to be the head coach at Webster City for 14 years and it’s something that I wanted to do since I went to college,” McKinney, a 1994 WCHS graduate, said. “I wanted to be a coach and I wanted to come back to my hometown to be a head coach. It is definitely bittersweet and I’m sure there are going to be a lot of mixed emotions.”
When I compiled McKinney’s career numbers, I immediately sent him a text and told him that 15 seasons is a nice number and reaching 200 victories would be quite the accomplishment.
Yeah, he didn’t bite. Don’t say I didn’t try.
But, again, I get it. Really, I do.
McKinney coached throughout his daughter Taylor’s standout career at WCHS, a four-year stint in which she laid claim to the title of greatest 5-on-5 player in school history, and has been in the captain’s chair for three years as his son Ty went from role player to all-conference performer for the Lynx.
Ty’s going to be a senior next year though, and for just one winter McKinney wants to sit back, relax, and enjoy watching his son play basketball. You can’t blame him for that.
“I think it’s time to be a dad,” McKinney said. “We have a great relationship and we had a great relationship on the floor, but at the same time when you’re the head coach your focus is on the team and on everything else, and not as much on your own kid. I want to be able to focus on him next year and be able to enjoy his senior year. It’s going to be different, but it’s something I’m looking forward to.”
Getting Ty on board with his decision was important though. Basketball seasons have been dad/coach and son ever since Ty first picked up a ball as a toddler, and now that dynamic is going to be different.
“I wanted his input and he was supportive,” McKinney said. “He gets it and I appreciate that.”
McKinney’s numbers are impressive, there’s no doubt about that. A 190-120 career record, including 147-74 inside the North Central Conference. Nine league seasons with a winning record and 13 at .500 or better. And only once did a Lynx team under his leadership fail to win at least 10 games in a season, that coming during the COVID-19 campaign of 2020-21 when WCHS was forced to pause its season before it even began.
There was the perfect 18-0 conference season of 2011-12 that brought McKinney his first NCC championship. Now that was a team that took on the personality of its head coach with its dogged defensive determination that made opponents want to celebrate if they happened to reach 40 points.
“That was the farewell to Jeff Gym season too,” McKinney reminded me. “That team could really defend and it was tough to score against us.”
And then came the run from 2014-17 — a three-year stretch in which WCHS won two league titles, played in two substate finals … and had one of the strangest runs I’ve ever seen.
The 2014-15 season was a rollercoaster. It began with five straight wins. Then came six straight losses. Then six straight wins. Then three straight losses. Then three straight wins to reach the substate final.
Seven-plus years later, it’s still a head-scratcher.
“You name it, we experienced it that year,” McKinney said. “We shot a lot of 3s that year and when we were shooting the ball well, we were pretty good. When we didn’t shoot the ball well, we were really bad. But finally it just clicked with all of us and it was a springboard into the next season.”
Ah, yes, that 2015-16 season — McKinney’s best team. Sorry to the other 13, but it was.
WCHS went 20-3 overall, 13-1 in the NCC to win the first of back-to-back crowns, and met a Ryan Kriener — a future Iowa Hawkeye who now plays professionally overseas — led Spirit Lake team in the substate final. It’s still a top-five Lynx basketball game I’ve ever covered and that’s probably never going to change.
“We got down by a lot so quickly and it would have been really easy to give up, but nobody quit,” McKinney said. “Everybody still believed we had a shot to win that game and we did have our chance in the fourth quarter. That was a lot of guts.”
Guts is a great way to describe McKinney’s entire career. It’s what all of his teams played with and it’s because that’s precisely what the head coach demanded. Did WCHS always have the most talent? No chance. But the Lynx did more with the talent they had than most and that’s directly attributable to McKinney.
If you beat a McKinney-led team, you earned it and had the bruises to prove it. His teams never phoned it in.
He’s an exceptional coach and that’s not going to be easy to replace. Personally though, I’m going to miss the conversations with the man. In many ways, McKinney was an old-school coach — he called it like he saw it, he didn’t sugarcoat things and he never made excuses. And, boy, was he a fantastic quote.
I’m sure there were many nights when he didn’t want to make that walk from the locker room back into the gymnasium and to the scorer’s table to chat with me after a tough loss. But he was always gracious and insightful, and never confrontational. That means a lot.
A great coach, a great role model and, most importantly, just a great person. That’s what WCHS is losing with this resignation.
THE MARTY FILES
A look at Marty McKinney’s 14-year career as the head coach of the Webster City boys’ basketball team.
Season NCC (Place) Overall
2008-09 14-4 (2nd) 15-7
2009-10 9-9 (6th) 10-12
2010-11 14-4 (3rd) 16-7
2011-12 18-0 (1st) 20-3
2012-13 9-9 (6th) 10-12
2013-14 10-8 (5th) 10-11
2014-15 7-7 (4th) 14-10
2015-16 13-1 (1st) 20-3
2016-17 12-2 (1st) 15-6
2017-18 9-5 (3rd) 14-9
2018-19 11-3 (2nd) 15-8
2019-20 7-7 (5th) 11-10
2020-21 5-9 (6th) 8-12
2021-22 9-5 (3rd) 12-10
CAREER 147-73 190-120
•A carer win percentage of .613.
•NCC win percentage of .668.
•13 seasons with double-digit wins.
•10 winning seasons.
•3 NCC championships.
•8 total NCC finishes inside top 3.
•3 trips to Class 3A substate final.