A Lasting Legacy: Reflecting on Mickey McCarty time as Neville’s head football coach

High School Sports

“You know even though I’m leaving, I’m not going anywhere. I’m just going across the street, ” says now former Neville head football coach Mickey McCarty.

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend. It’s safe to say after 197 victories, four state championships, Mickey McCarty’s tenure at Neville will always be treasured.

“When you have a chance to sit back and reflect, and I haven’t had that chance yet, ” says McCarty. “But, I certainly have great memories of certain teams that accomplished great things together. Some of those ended in state championship years. Other great accomplishments, we didn’t end the year holding a great big, shiny trophy.”

McCarty is leaving the big chair in the football office, for one in the principal’s office. The challenge of being in charge, during the COVID-19 crisis could be just as tough as a battle fought on Fridays, during the Fall.

“Well, I tell you, it’ll be challenging for sure, ” says McCarty. “Uncharted territory by all means. Just like being a coach, you got to surround yourself with quality people and a good team.”

McCarty, a man of strong character had to rely on his faith in order to make a life changing decision.

“Needed peace over that, and that was only provided to me through my faith, ” McCarty says. “Once I found that and had that I felt really good about pursuing administration.”

For 25 years, McCarty bled Neville black and gold. First, as an assistant, he rose through the ranks, becoming a head coach in 2002. If you ask him, the victories are nothing compared to seeing those who made it through the tough times.

“Some of the most gratifying times were those program players that stayed in your program, ” says McCarty. “And, they really didn’t get a chance to be a part so much of the Friday Night Lights and playing out there on the game field, maybe until their senior year or play at all. But, they stuck with you.”

McCarty was forced to make a tough decision on who gets the keys to the football program. They were given to Jeff Tannehill.

“Jeff is a proven winner, ” McCarty continues. “Jeff has head coaching experience. I’ve seen him coach football teams. I’ve seen him interact with players. I’ve seen him in charge.”

“I wasn’t going to do this, ” says an emotional Jeff Tannehill. “I know Coach [Charlie] Brown would be proud. All my former teammates and everything are proud. Just looking forward to getting to work and moving past all of this. It just means a lot.”

Mickey McCarty will forever be a part of high school football folklore. But, the great moments during his time wouldn’t have come without a solid team.

“It’s been said many times, and I think Coach [Bill] Ruple coined it, ‘When you win, there’s victory for all. When you lose, there’s victory for none.'” says McCarty.

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