Winning never gets old for returning coach

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 5, 2004

Johnny McCalpine has a lot of hats. From straw to leather, McCalpine has put together quite an impressive collection over the years.

Now he has one more.

McCalpine will take over this season as the new men’s basketball coach at Wallace Community College Selma,

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replacing Jeff Hines, who resigned after the Patriots won just five games last season.

Winning and competing are no stranger to McCalpine. He spent 16 years as the boys’ head basketball coach at East Perry High School, where he compiled an overall record of 338-154. He also led his team to three championship berths, including a state title in 1973.

After his final season of coaching on the prep level, McCalpine changed hats and became assistant principal for two years and principal another year at East Perry

“As soon as I got good at coaching basketball, I was promoted out of it,” McCalpine joked. “Coaching was one of the things I did really well.”

His administrative hat didn’t change. From there, McCalpine became co-principal at Westside High School for one year. He then became the assistant superintendent of Education for Perry County, a position he held for two years. McCalpine’s final promotion came when he was named superintendent of Education for Perry County. He retired in March 2003 after holding that position 14 years.

“I got a chance to spend some time on my farm,” McCalpine said. “I tore down and replaced some old fencing, I spent time getting my lawn the way I want it and I took better care of the cows.”

After working hard all his life, a quiet, relaxing life finally belonged to McCalpine. So why would he come back to coaching?

“I enjoy winning and I enjoy coaching,” he answered. “This is a chance for me to do

something I really enjoy doing.

“It’s the ultimate in anybody’s life,” McCalpine added. “If you do something you enjoy, you don’t see it as work. You don’t see the hassles. I don’t consider this a hassle because it’s an opportunity for me to make a difference in the lives of young people. That’s what I enjoy.”

In his first few weeks on the job, McCalpine has recruited 12 players, with more on the way.

“As long as I enjoy this challenge and as long as they’ll have me, I’ll be here,” McCalpine said.

Seems this hat is fitting just fine.