By GARY STALLARD
He's an East Texas native and a graduate of Lufkin High School, so it only stands to reason that Angelina College women's basketball assistant coach Randy McKelvey would use his roots to cultivate local talent.
Now in his fourth year as the Lady Roadrunner assistant coach – he spent the previous three years as a volunteer assistant – McKelvey is seeing his efforts rewarded: On Wednesday, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association named McKelvey the Assistant Coach of the Year for Two-Year Colleges.
McKelvey graduated Lufkin High School in 1999 and graduated with his bachelors degree in kinesiology in 2013. Later, he would earn his Master of Science degree in Sports Management from Southern New Hampshire University.
Known for his ability to recruit and develop players, McKelvey played a huge role in this year's Lady Roadrunner team, its recent conference tournament championship win and its advancement to the national tournament – the first AC women's basketball team in the college history to qualify for nationals. Before this year, he was part of developing seven All-Conference players.
This year, one of McKelvey's recruits, Natasha Mack, earned the NJCAA Division I National Player of the Year award, as well as the Region XIV Conference Most Valuable Player.
One of his biggest contributions, however, came in the semifinal round of the recent conference tournament. With No. 4 Trinity Valley double- and triple-teaming Mack, McKelvey suggested a change in the game plan that worked well enough to propel the Lady 'Runners into the finals.
"Randy suggested moving Natasha out of the block and moving Mia Perkins down low," Coleman said. "It was the perfect call for that situation, and Mia responded with a huge game for us."
As for the award, McKelvey gave credit to both his head coach and the players.
"I really appreciate Coach Coleman giving me an opportunity to be a part of a program I've followed my whole life," McKelvey said. "This school has given me the chance to grow as a professional. I was a student here at Angelina College.
"This is important to me, because when I first got here, I said I wanted to see us put a banner up in our rafters, something we could all come back later and see it hanging and know we had a small part of it. This is all about these kids, this whole group. I feel blessed to be around it."
McKelvey and his wife Zephanie live in Lufkin with their three children: Z'Nya, Randy III and Kobe.
The e-mail address for AC's Sports Information Director is firstname.lastname@example.org.