Chris McNamee has done it all as a head coach.
He’s a state champion. McNamee led Pikeville to the Class A state title in 2015 and last season, he led Pikeville back to the state championship game, but the Panthers fell 21-20 to Beechwood.
McNamee’s oldest son Andrew was a junior on the 2015 state title team.
His youngest son Isaac got some time as a freshman last season, but will take on the starting quarterback role this season.
McNamee will use that experience coaching Andrew now as Isaac will play a big role in Pikeville’s offense.
“I think it’s a neat experience,” Chris McNamee said. “It’s something that I enjoyed with Andrew (McNamee). He was kind of the test guy. I didn’t really know how to do it. Andrew and Isaac (McNamee) are a lot different. The way I handled Andrew is going to be different from the way I handle Isaac. Isaac has a little more responsibility this year being the quarterback, so their is some different things I’ll have to do. Overall, it’s great. I’m over here with them everyday and my wife is over at school with him all day. I can come here with him, so it’s great.
“With Andrew, he’s a little bit different than Isaac, we’d be able to sit down and talk and Isaac I argue a little more. I think it’s going to be good because he sees a lot of things that I don’t see and we don’t air it out here, but we’ll sit down and talk. What I want to do and what I learned with Andrew is that when we leave here after practice or after a game, it’s not player coach anymore, it’s dad and son and we’re going to do things with the family. You can’t help it sometimes these things creep into conversation, but I don’t want that to be the main focus of of our relationship even though it does play a big part.”
As a freshman backup, Isaac McNamee was 27 for 43 passing for 465 yards and six touchdowns on two interceptions. Isaac McNamee will now transition to the starting quarterback role for Pikeville.
“I think it’s been fun this offseason watching him because he’s been expecting to to do some things this year,” McNamee said. “He’s really taking it serious this year, he didn’t play baseball because he wanted to get in the weight room and have these guys out on the field throwing to. He’s put a lot of work in and time. The good thing about this year is that he’s going to have a lot of pieces around him who can do things with the football, he’s just got to get it to them.”
Chris McNamee learned a lot coaching his oldest son Andrew McNamee. He will take those lessons into how he coaches Isaac McNamee.
“I’ve learned and sometimes you’d like to go back if you could and I would’ve done some things different with Andrew,” Chris McNamee said. “I don’t know anything about volleyball or softball, but that didn’t stop me from harping on Lindsey sometimes. I’ve learned coming down with Isaac and Billy Johnson last year he looked at me because I was getting on Isaac about something out here and he said, ‘You better calm down a little bit. You’re going to force him to lose his confidence.’ I got guys around me that can kind of keep me in check too. As much as I want him to be a great player and a great person, I’ve got to realize he’s a 16-year old kid and he’s going to do some things that aren’t exactly the way I want all the time. We can work through it and get better together.”
All three of Chris McNamee’s have played at Pikeville. Isaac McNamee is currently playing, but Andrew McNamee and Lindsey McNamee also played at Pikeville. Andrew McNamee played football and baseball, while Lindsey McNamee played volleyball and softball.
Things have slowed down a little for Chris McNamee since his oldest children graduated high school.
“I think with me and my wife both, having all three kids here and playing sports in high school and junior high sports it was crazy because we were running here and there,” McNamee said. “Now we just have one to run after and he’s usually here with me, it takes a little bit off of moms plate. It’s really something neat, but it’s sports aren’t the most important thing in our household. It’s definitely played a huge role and kind of who we are and how we interact with people in the community.”
Chris McNamee and his brothers played football at Pikeville and he likes the tradition his family has built within Pikeville athletics.
“Me and my brothers all played here,” McNamee said. “We enjoyed our time here and I chose to come back here to Pikeville and live. Pikeville is my home. I’ve got a lot of pride in Pikeville High School being from here. I want my boys and my kids to do the same thing. I think they’ve enjoyed playing athletics here and going to school and getting an education. It’s been neat being able to do that.”
Chris McNamee is one of the top coaches around.
But he isn’t just a coach.
He is a father first and then a coach.
Sports Editor’s Note: This is the third of three Father’s Day features this week. To see the full interview check out episode 34 of the Bank On It podcast.