Tomorrow night (Friday, January 29th) marks another PINK night with the Austin Spurs. At Komen Austin, we are fortunate to partner with influential community organizations that understand the importance of giving back to the community, and the Austin Spurs are no exception.
We had the opportunity to get to know Austin Spurs head coach Ken McDonald a little bit better. Read on to learn more about Coach McDonald’s coaching career, his connection to breast cancer and why he is proud to wear pink.
1. Tell us about your coaching career background and how/why you ended up coaching Austin Spurs.
I got into coaching right out of college at the college level for 18 yrs starting at Clemson then onto Western Kentucky, Georgia, and Texas.
In 2012, I interviewed for an assistant coaching job for the Austin Toros at the time and got the job. At the end of my first year in the D-League my head coach, Taylor Jenkin’s, took a position with the Atlanta Hawks. I was elevated to head coach and have been the head coach since.
It’s been an incredible opportunity to be a part of a World Class organization. The opportunity to learn about every aspect of the NBA from the coaches and management has really helped me as a coach.
2. What is your goal coaching the Austin Spurs this season?
The goal each year starts with Development:
-Create a culture that helps players get better each day so they can achieve their goals.
-Represent the Spurs franchise by playing competitive basketball the right way.
-Give back to our fans and community. Lots of opportunity to positively impact people of all ages through our sport.
“I always look forward to rocking the pink!”
– Austin Spurs Head Coach Ken McDonald
3. Do you have a connection to breast cancer and if so, can you tell us a little bit about that?
I do have a close connection to breast cancer. My mother and sister are breast cancer survivors. I remember being very young when I first found out about this disease. It’s hard to find someone you know that hasn’t been personally affected by it. I also know that advancements have been made and how important early detection is in fighting and beating this terrible disease.
4. The PINK night with the Austin Spurs is coming up on January 29 and has become an annual tradition. Can you tell us about this particular game and what it means to give back to your community?
This has become a very special and exciting night for us. Our players understand the importance of the cause and really want to be a part of the crusade.
Last year right before the game I asked the team how many of them we are affected by this disease and about everyone raised their hand.
Before the game I spoke to a large group of women and shared my experience about my mother and sister being survivors and it was hard to not get emotional. And at the same time it put everything into perspective. We are thankful for the opportunity to spread the word and support the cause.
5. Can we expect to see you wearing pink on January 29th?
You bet. I always look forward to rocking the Pink!
Make sure to reserve your FREE tickets for tomorrow night’s PINK Night with the Austin Spurs at the Cedar Park Center. The team will be taking on the Idaho Stampede, and the evening will be one you won’t want to miss!
Ken McDonald is entering his third season as head coach with the Austin Spurs. He served as an assistant coach during the 2012-13 season with the Toros, helping lead the team to a 27-23 overall record and to the semifinals of the 2013 NBA D-League Playoffs. McDonald has also served as head coach at Western Kentucky University (2008-11), where he led the team to the Sun Belt Regular Season Championship and Sun Belt Tournament Championship (2009). McDonald spent four seasons (2008-2012) as an assistant coach at the University of Texas under Head Coach Rick Barnes, who he has considered his mentor during his coaching career. In addition to guiding the Longhorns to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, he also helped the team reach a 106-35 (.752) record throughout the four seasons he was with the team, which is still ranked as the most victories in a four-year period in school history. McDonald has also served as an assistant coach at the University of Georgia (2003-04), Western Kentucky University (1998-2003) and Clemson University (1994-98). He graduated from Providence College, where he played shooting guard (1991-92), before playing professionally for the St. Paul Revelles in Ireland (1993-94). While playing at the Community College of Rhode Island (1989-90) prior to transferring to Providence, McDonald was a first-team Junior College All-American and set school records for single-season scoring (754 points) and 3-pointers made in a game (9) and season (109). McDonald was born and raised in Providence, R.I. He has one daughter, Ella, who was born in 2008.