Being a Hall of Famer was never a thought for Doug McKay.
The Warren De La Salle golf coach took over the team in 1994 while his son Kevin was on the team and wasn’t even sure at the time if he’d keep the job when his son graduated in 1996.
Yet, over a decade and a half later, McKay was inducted into the Catholic High School League Hall of Fame.
“It was absolutely special. You think of the Hall of Fame, and normally, you think of football, baseball and basketball, those kinds of noticeable team sports. I don’t know how many golf coaches hang around this long, but for me, it was overwhelmingly special,” McKay said of his June 11 induction.
“I was kind of blown away of the fact. It’s been an honor and a privilege to coach De La Salle all these years.”
McKay’s teams have also been successful. In his first season, he sent an individual to the state final and then ran a streak of team appearances in the championship every year until this past season.
“I always approached it as junior golfers. You needed to instill upon the kids to be honest, to be fair, to want to learn, get better and play the game as a gentlemen,” said McKay, a Lake Orion resident. “I also really put an emphasis on trying to win. So that’s kind of how the first year’s team started. Then, once the program started winning and became successful, the kids wanted to come out for golf, and they had that desire to want to win and improve.”
McKay credits the players for the state-final appearance streak.
“There were so many years that we just came out of nowhere. Having a mediocre year, and then the team always seemed to be blessed to peak at the right time,” he said.
This past season, the Pilots were one spot off in their regional from qualifying, which gave McKay an opportunity to teach his kids an important lesson.
“I told them that it’s incredible what they did all these years and that nothing lasts forever, and that they should be proud to be part of the De La Salle community and golf team,” the coach said.
Though they didn’t make the final, the squad did add to a new streak that is just as important to McKay. For the third season in a row, the Pilots were academic All-State.
It’s a job that McKay took on a whim to coach his son that turned into his passion, and he has no plans of stopping any time soon.
“I’ve never thought about it. I’m already into next year. I have a wonderful class of players,” he said. “I just love it. It’s truly a game, and a game I want the players to love, too.”