I found a quote the other day from an unknown author: “Judge the leader not by the number that are led, but by the number that are served.” It appropriately describes coach Kelly Donohoe, who has led the Blue Springs football program for the past 20 years.
He has amazing statistics during his legendary career. He won 191 games in those 20 years, which is the most of any school or coach in that 20-year period in the state of Missouri. He had a winning percentage of 78. His teams dominated for two decades of area high school football. The Blue Springs football program has gone 33 seasons without a losing record.
Kelly built a No. 1 program. However, the records, championships, awards and accomplishments are not the real story about Coach Donohoe and the program. The story is how Coach Donohoe taught students and athletes to achieve success with a high standard.
Coach Donohoe does not act any different now than the first time I saw him play as a freshman quarterback at Harrisonville High School. He has been blessed with great leadership qualities, and he has always been a class act at every level of his playing and coaching career.
A quote by the great Vince Lombardi also fits him: “Regardless of personal accomplishments, the only true satisfaction a player receives is the satisfaction that only comes from being part of a successful team.”
That has been Coach Donohoe’s coaching style since the first day he walked on a field to coach a team. I have been at many of his pre- and post-game meetings, and the core of every speech is placing the team first in order to attain success. The fire he has in his belly radiates throughout his players. He has taught every player who has worn a Wildcat jersey to win and lose with class, which is becoming a lost art.
I have been contacted by a lot of people following Coach Donohoe’s decision to retire from Missouri public education and to take the head coaching job at Rockhurst. The rivalry between Rockhurst and Blue Springs has been a beautiful thing to watch over the past 34 years. Coach Donohoe and Rockhurst coach Tony Severino made each other better.
Timing can be everything, and Coach Donohoe had the rare opportunity to retire in Missouri at the same time Coach Severino decided to retire from Rockhurst.
The Blue Springs players and fans will hate to see Donohoe leave, but financially it could take care of his family for the rest of their lives. Donohoe has earned and deserves the right to start a new journey in his career.
The Blue Springs High School administration will be able to hire a new coach who will be able to retain the great tradition the Wildcats football program has had for the past 20 years.
Blue Springs defensive coordinator and former Wildcat player Matt Marble, stated in The Examiner: “If he was retiring and then coaching for Bishop Miege or a Blue Valley school, everyone would do nothing but thank him for 20 years of his life spent making Blue Springs High School a better place. So that’s what I choose to do, thank him for his amazing, selfless service to our football program over the past two decades. We’ll all miss him like crazy, but we’ve also already circled Week 9 on the calendar!”
That is a great response to the situation. These two great high school football traditions should continue to thrive and be successful.
To me the greatest statistic mentioned is that in the last 20 years Blue Springs football teams have won 191 games, which is the most by any school in Missouri. The school in second place is Rockhurst with 190 wins. The rivalry should only get better in the future. I see both schools continuing to strive for greatness with a will to win.
• The quote of the week comes from Martin Luther King Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenges and controversy.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.