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Coaching legend McPhee at ‘swan song’ stage of productive career

The coach is moving on gracefully!

Legendary Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee will be feted during a testimonial banquet, organized by the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association.

The date is Saturday, December 7. The location: the Grand Lucayan Pavilion in Freeport, Grand Bahama. From 7 p.m. onward, on the occasion, he will be celebrated, toasted and roasted, as is befitting of this giant of a man whose incredible volume of sports/youth development achievements greatly belie his diminutive physical structure.

In New Providence, former Permanent Secretary Calvin Balfour (823-3079) is coordinating the tickets and seating for the event; and in Grand Bahama, Ambrose Gouthro (359-4205) is the ticketing/seating contact.

Meanwhile, the man himself is out of the country, and he has been for two months. Coach Moon, 73 years old, has indeed come full circle. He is presently in Mississippi, as has been the case for the last two years at this time. He will be back in the country a week ahead of his big night.

And yes, he has circled all the way around to a primary focus, once again, on a very special person in his life. As related by the coach, he recognized that beyond her desire to play around with the basketball, his daughter Yolett had a unique insight for the game. For him, it was a double-concentration perspective from that point onward.

He spent countless hours, really early morning hours and otherwise, teaching her basketball skills, but also imbedding in her the tools of mentoring others on the court. The little girl he worked lovingly, passionately and closely with, became a virtual clone of the old man. She is now Coach “Yo” Yolett McPhee-McCuin, the beloved women’s basketball boss on the campus of the University of Mississippi, in Oxford, Mississippi.

She heads into the third game of her second season with the Ole Miss Rebels, tomorrow. Coach Yo will carry a 2-0 record against the University of New Orleans, in a home game at The Pavilion in Oxford.

So, this is the preferred environment for Coach Moon. He is present at every practice session and he has an extremely tight and respectful non-basketball relationship with his daughter’s assistant coaches. The players behold him in delight and reverence.

“Yes, this is what I’m moving fully to. I want to be with her at this time in her life, just to be there, if she needs anything at all. Hey, she can coach. She doesn’t need to ask me much, but with me just being there that’s the support I want to give her,” said the dean of Bahamian basketball coaching.

For sure, he has made the circle, in which his daughter is the centerpiece.

“I’m just so proud of her. I never imagined, way back then, 30 years ago, that it would be all of this. I was just grooming her to be able to earn a scholarship. She went on to become the first Bahamian female to earn a scholarship to an NCAA Division 1 school (Rhode Island). Then, she got into coaching, was outstanding at the University of Jacksonville and now here she is with this great program at Mississippi.

“No, I didn’t see all of this. But, here we are and I can tell you, I’m loving it. I will be back home for the banquet they are having for me and I appreciate that very much. That means a lot to me. I’ve had a great life. The Lord has allowed me to have many wonderful years and I am thankful,” said Coach Moon earlier this week.

The first banquet in his honor is long overdue. He should have been saluted in an elaborate fashion years ago, such have been his accomplishments in youth development as well as basketball administration. Now, come December 7, the crusty genius with a heart of gold will be embraced and celebrated in grand style.

Coach Moon is well-deserving.

As he relishes the ‘swan song’ phase of a glorious career, the country is indebted to him for the contributions to nation-building for more than half a century.

 

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at 727-6363.

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