No. 700: St. Michael's Scanlon reaches coaching milestone
As Mark Scanlon walked off the court at Grain Valley High School Tuesday, Eagles activities director Brandon Hart made a special announcement.
“We’d like to congratulate St. Michael’s head coach Mark Scanlon on getting his 700th career victory tonight,” Hart said as St. Michael the Archangel Catholic players looked at their coach in disbelief following an 83-36 rout of Oak Grove in the first round of the 23rd annual Grain Valley Sonic Showdown.
Scanlon had not mentioned a thing about win No. 700 to his team, and seemed a bit embarrassed by the attention the announcement brought his way as fans, parents and players came up to congratulate him.
One player even snapped a selfie with Scanlon, who is as down to earth and low key as it gets in the coaching ranks. Oh, yeah. He’s pretty successful, too.
Scanlon began his coaching career at Bunceton, Mo., coaching there for a year in 1979. He then spent three years at Buckland, Mo., four at Mexico, Mo. – the home of former Raytown Blue Jay and NBA champion Tyronn Lue – 22 at Raytown, one at Kansas City Northeast and the past four at St. Michael.
“I started in 1979,” Scanlon said, counting on his fingers, “that’s six decades. That makes me feel old. But I don’t feel old at all, and I still love coaching as much as I did when I started back at Bunceton in 1979.
“This is my 43rd year, and I’m going to keep coaching as long as it’s fun. And with this team, it’s a lot of fun – great players, great parents, a great administration, everything a coach could ask for.”
Scanlon is best remembered for his coaching days at Raytown, where Lue, Cortez Groves, Terry Nooner, Brandon Weiss and Co., put on a show every night in front of a sold-out crowd.
Scanlon’s longtime assistant and friend Kenny Vance once said, “This varsity team is pretty lucky we have such a good JV team. Everyone gets here two hours early to watch the JV kids play and stay around to watch Coach Scanlon’s team.”
Vance was partially right, as you could not find a seat unless you arrived at the Raytown High School gym well before the junior varsity game started.
“That was a fun team, and those were some fun games,” Scanlon said. “And coaching with Kenny was so much fun. We still talk all the time.”
And he had some fun against the overmatched Panthers.
It was evident from the opening period that the Guardians were going to reward their coach with the milestone win as they led 27-11 after one period and then held the Panthers to just three points in the second quarter, taking a commanding 43-14 halftime lead.
As Scanlon talked about the game, former Oak Grove coach Ty Hames dropped by to say hello.
“Someone told me there was something big happening tonight,” Hames said with a wink. “I thought it was something big with Oak Grove.”
Scanlon chuckled as he shook his former coaching rival's hand.
“That’s one of the best things about hanging around as long as I have,” Scanlon said. “You meet some great people along the way.”
Deuce Roberts scored 17 points to lead the Guardians (12-3). Freshman Jayden Renfrow added 16 and J.J. Adams and Michael Haggerty added 12 each.
Jamison Kirk led Oak Grove (1-10) with 13 points.