Three generations of Iron Range basketballers know well the legacy of former Chisholm coach Bob McDonald. The winningest coach in Minnesota State High School League history, McDonald led hundreds of boys on a journey that was one part basketball skill and one part character-building.
Now, new generations will come to know the name Bob McDonald as a new award for top state basketball players will bear his name.
Amid a racially charged controversy over the privately-owned Minnesota Mr. Basketball award, the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association created a new award that would hold relevance to players across the state. In searching for a name, the coaches settled on the 59-year veteran of the court, Bob McDonald.
In this, the coaches association viewed the choice as obvious:
The award is named in honor of Bob McDonald, a legend and icon in Chisholm, the state of Minnesota, and the nation for his accomplishments as a coach and his commitment to educating students.
Coach McDonald, served 59 years as a high school basketball coach. Coach McDonald led his teams to over 1,000 (1.012) victories, the only coach in Minnesota hoops history and one of 13 in the nation to accomplish this many wins. He was also known for instilling the values of hard work, teamwork, a strong moral code, and high academic expectations for the students he served on the court and in the classroom. Bob is a member of the MBCA Hall of Fame, the MSHSL Hall of Fame, and the NFHS National Hall of Fame.
The Award, patterned after the Wooden Award, will include, but not be limited to, qualifications such as exhibiting strength of character, both on and off the court; contributing to team effort; excelling on both offense and defense; and performance over the course of the entire season.
Tentative plans are that the selection committee will include retired and/or Hall of Fame coaches representing geographic locations of the State (NW, NE, SW,SE) and Metropolitan (NW, NE, SW, SE, Minneapolis, St. Paul) areas.
In addition to selecting the Player of the Year; the establishment of the award is also designed to focus attention on the positive aspects of basketball and the role coaches play in the lives of all the student-athletes they represent and serve. In moving forward it is the goal of the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association, that the McDonald Award will be widely viewed as the top award that a high school basketball player in Minnesota can receive.
The first Bob McDonald award will be granted after the 2017-18 season. It’s not clear what the status of the Mr. Minnesota award will be this year or going forward.