The Magic of McDonald

Updated: 02/20/2014 7:13 PM
Created: 02/20/2014 7:00 PM
By: Eyewitness Sports

"I am the guy that gets hung up with 1,000 wins, but I didn't play those wins and I always feel beholden to the kids that played for me," says Bob McDonald.

"There is a sense of pride in that place that is directly related to my dad's involvement," says Joel McDonald, Bob's son.

"Everyone looks at him like a super hero," says Chisholm senior center Mitch Rusten.

"This is my 59th year," says McDonald

"There is not many 30 or 40 years that are that dedicated," says Bryce Tesdahl, Bob's grandson.

"He has been in this game as it has evolved over time," says Rhett McDonald, Bob's grandson.

"There comes time for an end, pick and choose when," says McDonald.

Chisholm, Minnesota was established in 1901, but in many ways, Bob McDonald helped put it on the map.

"Mr. McDonald is the institution that has been here so long and ware not just proud of his wins, but all the people he's touched," says IRRRB Commissioner and former Chisholm player Tony Sertich.

Like taconite, he is a strong part of the identity of the Iron Range.

"If you last long enough and are patient long enough, something good like this happens and it happened to me," says McDonald.

A lot happens when you're around long enough to coach the fathers of fathers of players.

"My grandfather was a player for the Bluestreaks as well," says Sertich.

His coaching career began in 1955.

"I was 21, they were 18," says McDonald.

The wins didn't came easy back then and he still remembers his first one. but, not because of a winning shot.

"We nearly had a great tragedy because one of the officials got excited and was going to blow his whistle and swallowed his plate, so they had to extricate that, otherwise, the poor guy would have died," says McDonald.

Both the ref and the coached lived to see another day. In 1961, McDonald returned to the place where he played in high school, becoming Chisholm's third head coach. 53 years later, The Bluestreaks are still on their third head coach.

"There are few people that have last that long. I just enjoy it.," says McDonald.

He's never been called for a technical foul and these days, he rarely raises his voice. But, McDonald admits that wasn't always the case.

"I could really burn the paint of the wall y'know. But I have come off of a lot of that, I don't have to gear them up other then telling them that they should perform a little better," says McDonald.

They listen. McDonald has lead Chisholm to 11 state tournament appearances and three state championships.

"We have had success and I think success breeds success and not so much where we really feel we're going to win, but when you did win, it gears up younger kids to prepare a little better at winning in the future," said McDonald in 1991.

Bob and Darlene McDonald had six kids and more than titles or triumphs, these are the numbers he is most proud of. All six went on to become coaches and three grand children are right behind them.

"Whether it is the second generation after my dad or some of the grand kids. just that warm feeling of the game and what the game can provided is what attracted us back to it," says Joel McDonald, Hibbing's Head Coach.

"From a very young age, I have never thought of anything else but being a basketball coach and a teacher," says Rhett McDonald, Duluth East's Head Coach.

"I am in his shoes that he was 60 years ago. If you look at his career and his lifespan, he has had a lot of good things happen to him and good players and comes back to working hard," says Bryce Tesdahl, a Graduate Assistant Coach at UMD.

As long he's worn a whistle, he's expected players to follow his rules. McDonald is strict on appearance and attire as well as behavior and bed times.

"I think kids on school nights should be home by 10 pm, no bumming around till 1:00 in the morning. If you don't do that, you're not going to play, that simple," says McDonald.

"We had to keep our hair short and our socks pulled up high. It taught a lot of discipline, taught a lot of respect," says Sertich.

"Sometimes we don't think he is fair, but when you look back, he has been tough on us, but it brings out the best in us," says Rusten.

With offspring coaching across Minnesota, crossing paths is inevitable.

"They are welcome to defeat me. I don't look at them as my sons, but I look at them as opposing coaches," says McDonald.

Son Joel is now the head coach of rival Hibbing and before Christmas, he.stood in the way of his dad's 999th win.

"With him nearing his 1,000th win, we don't want to necessarily get him any closer to that. It is going to be a battle," said Joel McDonald before the game.

It was a battle as father defeated son and the day after Christmas, McDonald became just the 12th boy's basketball coach in the nation to reach 1,000 wins. Afterwards, .a moment for Darlene, his wife of 43 years who passed away in 1997.

"I believe mom is up in heaven giving you one of her standing ovations," said Joel McDonald after his dad's 1,000th win.

Win number 1,000 came seven months after he was inducted into MSHSL Hall of Fame and one month after announcing that this would be his final season.

"It comes a time that you have to feel that you cannot fulfill the obligations for the coaching position by handing the program from preschool to high school and that is what I have done all these years," says McDonald.

Governor Mark Dayton declared Februray 11th "Bob McDonald Day" for a coach with a resume unlike any other in Minnesota.

"Nobody wants to get old, it is a matter of longevity really. I consider myself younger when I deal with young people and that is what makes me tick I guess," says McDonald.

Whether it is the bond with his blood or the bond with his Bluestreaks, Bob McDonald is more than a coach, he's a true family man.

"I feel like they are my sons really and that over the long haul pays off for me in memories," says McDonald.

McDonald would tie the knot again and his wife Carol was once his prom date. One regular season game remains for McDonald with Chisholm at home against Ely....and his son Tom.

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