Dalton High School Catamounts

May 31, 2013

Big part of Big Red

McKinney named Dalton High athletic director

Jeff McKinney coached two varsity teams this past school year at Dalton High.

Next year, he’ll play a role in all the school’s sports.

McKinney, who has been a coach at the school since 2001, was named athletic director and assistant principal at Dalton on Thursday. He will begin the new position on July 1, according to a release from Dalton Public Schools. His yearly salary will be $82,500, said Pat Holloway, director of communications for Dalton Public Schools.

McKinney replaces Ron Ward, who will become an associate principal at the school on July 1 after serving the past three seasons as athletic director and an assistant principal.

McKinney called the school’s athletic department “one of the best around” and said he has wanted to return to an administrative role for some time.

“When the position came open, it was one of those things where I felt I’d be a great fit for it,” he said. “I’ve had a good relationship with all of our coaches. ... An administrator/athletic director-type position is where I see myself now in my career.”

McKinney, a math teacher this past school year, has coached the varsity girls basketball team for the past 12 seasons and was the varsity softball coach in 2012 after working as an assistant the previous three seasons under Bob Brotherton. He believes his wide-ranging experience in many sports will offer balance. He has 21 years of education experience and previously worked in administration at Rossville Middle School.

Mike Duffie, Dalton’s boys basketball coach since 2006, agrees that McKinney’s experience coaching other sports will help.

“Jeff has coached in different sports, schools and districts,” Duffie said. “You want fair people, and I think we’ve always had that at Dalton. Ron (Ward) did a good job, and coach (Ronnie) McClurg always was good to me. I think (Jeff) will be fair to everybody.”

Dalton boys soccer coach Matt Cheaves, who has been at the school since 1995, also supported the choice.

“He’s the kind of guy who, when you need someone to stand behind you, he’ll be there,” Cheaves said.

McKinney doesn’t plan to remain the girls basketball coach next season. His tenure was a successful one — the Lady Catamounts reached the state tournament in 10 of his 12 seasons, including reaching the Class 3A state title game in 2011.

He resigned as softball coach after this past season ended, and Stacy Parker became the program’s coach.

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