Last Friday was “Mike Night” at Switzerland County High School, and with a large crowd in attendance to honor and preserve the memory of teacher Mike McClure, the night was a huge success.
With more than 500 people sporting gold and black “Mike Night” tee-shirts, Friday featured two varsity basketball games. The Lady Pacers, sporting pink uniforms in the contest to bring awareness to breast cancer, tipped off again Madison Shawe at 6 p.m.; and that was followed by the boys varsity playing the Hilltoppers. Both games brought wins for Switzerland County — but the real winners were students who will be aided in furthering their education by receiving the Mike McClure Scholarship.
Switzerland County boys varsity coach B.J. McAlister said that over 530 tee-shirts were purchased prior to and at Friday’s game; and more than $1,600 in donations were accepted. The event was benefiting by the generous donations of McAlister Excavating Company; and also by CashSaver Market, who helped underwrite the benefit dinner prior to the games, and also assisted with tee-shirts and other promotions.
All of the funds will be added to the endowment, and it is expected that this spring a senior at Switzerland County High School will be the first recipient of the Mike McClure Scholarship. It will be awarded to a senior who has been active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an organization that Mike McClure sponsored while he was a part of the Switzerland County faculty.
Between games, athletic director David Todd asked the large contingent of the Mike McClure family to come down to the court to be recognized, and Steve McClure, Mike’s brother, spoke to the crowd on behalf of the family.
“We cannot express to each of you what this night means to us,” Steve McClure said. “Switzerland County is a special place, and the love and support that this school and this community has shown to us has been unbelievable.”
Steve McClure told the crowd that he had coached a boys basketball team that had earned the chance to play for a state championship in the past, but after his squad lost just short of their goal, he remembers Mike telling him that he was “glad that his team lost.”
“He told me that because he said that if we had won we would have spent an entire trip talking about that game and about basketball,” Steve McClure said. “Since we lost, Mike said it would give us the chance to talk about our faith and about Jesus. That’s what was really important to him, his personal walk with Christ.”
Following Steve McClure’s remarks, Perry Hunter, Regional Representative for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, took a moment to address the crowd.
He said that he had never had the honor of meeting Mike McClure, but he knew of the man that he was and the high character he held, and that this school and this community was a better place because Mike McClure was a part of it.
He urged the students and the community to continue moving forward with Mike’s vision.
Mike McClure was a longtime teacher and coach at Switzerland County High School, and he passed away after a battle with cancer at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.