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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • After coming full-circle, McClain hangs it up at McDonald County

  • A basketball career that has come full-circle has now come to an end for one local coach. LaDonna McClain, a standout basketball player who prepped at McDonald County high school and has served as head girls basketball coach for the past five years, has decided to relinquish the reigns of the program.
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  • A basketball career that has come full-circle has now come to an end for one local coach. LaDonna McClain, a standout basketball player who prepped at McDonald County high school and has served as head girls basketball coach for the past five years, has decided to relinquish the reigns of the program.
    She's stepping down, she says, to dedicate more time with her family. Her sons Eli, 9, and Dalton, 8, have made her decision much easier.
    "It was pretty difficult," McClain said of the decision, adding she struggled with the idea for some time. "I'm very blessed to have had the opportunities I've had, but I'm want to spend more time with my family and do things I hadn't been able to do the past 20-some years. I told my team I feel like I've come full-circle since I started my career here and am ending it here.
    "I'm at peace with it."
    From the time McClain turned in her high school jersey until she picked up a clipboard for the Lady Mustangs, her career took her all over the country.
    She began her collegiate career as a standout on the floor for then Missouri Southern State College, now MSSU. She spent her fifth year at MSSC as a student-assistant, before taking a job at Austin Peay University in Clarksville, Tenn. McClain assisted the Lady Gov's for two years before spending the next seven as head coach. She then moved on to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) where she guided the Lady Rebels for two seasons.
    She later made her way back home after one season as head basketball coach at Crane (Mo.) High School and three years at Seneca. During her career she's won a district championship with the Lady Mustangs and taken a team to the NCAA Tournament.
    Now, she says, she'll run the coaching gamut and focus on coaching Eli and Dalton's youth teams.
    "I thank God for people in my past who have helped me along in my career," McClain said. "I was always in the right place at the right time. One thing I told myself was that I didn't want to get out if I felt like I'd left anything undone. I kind of worked backwards in that I started in college and then got into the high school ranks, but I loved it.
    "I'm just ready to turn it in and spend time with my family. Coaching is very time consuming."
    McClain, who teaches Physical Education and Health at McDonald County, says that she intends to remain a teacher in the district and has no plans of leaving. It's where, she says, she wants to raise her sons.
    "I had a great experience here growing up and obviously want my kids to experience it too. I have no intentions of leaving here, I'm just not going to be doing the same thing."
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