VIDEO ABOVE: WJTV-12’s Hailey Hunter catches up with Northwest Rankin’s Jeff McClaskey, who reflects on his career and looks forward to the future of Cougars baseball.
FLOWOOD, Miss. (WJTV) — Northwest Rankin athletic director and head baseball coach Jeff McClaskey is retiring after 31 years on the job.
McClaskey led the Cougars to 800 wins, and 19 district championships since 1990.
“I pretty much spend of course more time up here than I do at home and you don’t win as many games as we have here in 31 years without great talent,” McClaskey said. “You’ve got to have great support and the community bought into everything. The parents have bought in and the kids of course. We have had about fifteen or twenty get drafted…and it’s special when you have kids like that and it’s more special when they stay in contact with you and you consider them a good friend now.”
McClaskey was named Mississippi Coach of the Year in 2005 after he won his first MHSAA state championship. His team was ranked number six in the national polls.
“We’ve had a lot of great teams, and great players come through here but in ’05 when you finally win one after that many years – you know it’s got to be the best. Being National Coach of the Year that year too and Mississippi Coach of the Year is really special and something I will always remember.”
One of McClaskey’s former players, KK Aldridge will take over as head coach.
“KK is a very good man, a good family man, and he’s a good friend of mine. We wanted a guy to come in here that knew about this program, that wanted to continue on in the same direction. This year he took on a lot of my responsibilities to see how it would work out. He did a great job, and I think he’s going to do a good job.”
While McClaskey won’t be leading the team out at Wesley Scarbrough Field anymore, you can expect to see him and his dog Slugger still cheering on the team.
“They’ll probably see me a lot. I keep telling them I’m going to drop Slugger off, my dog, and let them hang out with him in the office. Yeah, we’ll be here a lot.”