Senath Mo.Class of '58
Coach & Friend
Coach EE Mc Connel
SUBJECT: AN OPEN LETTER OF RECOGNITION AND APPRECIATION
FOR OUR “COACH and FRIEND” ---- MR. EE McCONNELL
Dear Mr. Robertson;
The purpose of this communication is to bring to the attention of yourself, the school faculty and all student body members the recent passing of our coach, Mr. EE McConnell this past September 8th, 2001. No doubt the many years have erased not only events surrounding the Class of 1958 but also the name and accomplishments of our beloved coach and friend, Mr. McConnell.
Mr. McConnell, or “Coach” as we called him, joined the Senath High School Faculty just prior to the retirement of another great coach and friend Mr. Norman in the mid to late fifties. Mr. McConnell had long lasting influences in all aspects of his personal guidance surrounding teaching us Hygiene, Citizenship, Boys Physical Education while also coaching our track, baseball and basketball teams. One of his recognized accomplishments was his leadership and coaching abilities when he propelled the Senath High School Boys Basketball Team into winning THE DUNKLIN COUNTY BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP AWARD IN 1958. Can you imagine the pride felt back then among the entire citizenry of the community following the regional playoffs and that memorable event.
Perhaps, among his greatest unrecognized accomplishments is the first time introduction of the word “Gymnastics” into the Senath School Yearbook in 1957. I submit that Mr. McConnell and his initial introduction of the term “Gymnastics” into Senath Boys Phys. Ed. Class eventually lead to expanded efforts by other Senath coaches and ultimately to the current impression made of a weight lifter (Gymnast) on the corner of the New Senath High School Gymnasium.
He alone is to be credited with introducing the word “Gymnastics” into Senath's School Yearbook beginning in 1957. For records purposes please let it be known that in the summer of 1956 Coach introduced a small booklet titled BASIC GYMNASTICS to two high school sophomores showing interest in the subject. Coach McConnell had noticed the two sophomores rolling around on the floor of the gymnasium on an “old safety mat”. The old worn mat had just been replaced from under a basketball goal by the schools maintenance crew. Coach McConnell began immediately in tutoring those two sophomores from that small paperback booklet.
Shortly thereafter, in a pickup truck (borrowed from Gateley's Service Station) and with the assistance of those very same two sophomores, (Ken Beacham and Bob Corley) “Coach McConnell” drove to Malden, Missouri High School late one afternoon. Together, the three of them loaded almost a half ton of similar “discarded safety mats” into that borrowed truck before returning to Senath. After unloading them “Coach” soon began the first “Gymnastics” training class in Senath. His efforts are first reflected in the Senath Lions 1957 Yearbook.
We each consider ourselves blessed to have had such a true “Coach and Friend” as was EE McConnell. His efforts should be well known and proudly expressed surrounding his contributions to “Gymnastics” in Senath High School. They should never be unrecognized nor should they ever be forgotten. Those of us of the Class of 1958 will never forget the contributions, dedication and personal guidance shown to all of us by his presence and existence in our lives.
Perhaps by the sharing of this story and this small part of Coach McConnell's legacy, more people will have the understanding and recognition of this man's influence in all our lives. If students, faculty and towns people continue to know of his early contributions, then perhaps he is, in some manner “immortalized” in the current impression made of a weight lifter (gymnast) on the corner of the New Senath Gymnasium. “OLD TIMES THERE ARE NOT FORGOTTEN”, and neither is our beloved “Coach and Friend” ……. Mr. EE McConnell.
With Warmest Regards and Fondest Memories,
Class Of 1958 - Reunion Committee Representative
Senath-Hornersville School District C-8
A.K, Rffberfspn, Superintendent
Phone: (573) 738-2669- ar:: (573) 738-9MS
P.O. Box 370
Senath) MLisouri 69876
Dear Mr. Corley:
Thank you for your gracious invitation to myself and wife to attend the reunion on June
8"\ The recognition you have orchestrated focusing on Coach McConnell is
commendable. Oftentimes the labor of dedicated men and women goes unnoted.
My wife and I would attend, but for the fact that I am retiring from cdiication, and
relocating to Southwest Missouri; thus must regrctftilly decline your invitation.
Perhaps you might wish to invite my designated successor, Mr. Yancy Poorman, who is
currently serving as High School Principal. His telephone number is 573-738-2661, and
his address is P.O. Box 370, also.
I shall present the letter you forwarded to Mr. Poorman and instruct that it be displayed in
the High School gymnasium trophy case hereafter. Also. I shall make our Board of
Education familiar with your activities at our next regularly scheduled Board meeting (my
Best wishes for a wonderful reunion.