Coaching a multi-generational vocation for the McEachern family

When Kingwood Park took part in the Hargrave tournament earlier this season, it was no ordinary tournament.

As the yellow Humble ISD bus crossed Lake Houston on its way to Huffman, new K-Park coach Kelsie McEachern was at home.

McEachern began to step back in time as she entered the dugout for the tournament opener.

“I used to sit there in the dugout,” McEachern said. “Then the next thing you know, I have to focus because we have a game to play. It was different for sure because I used to play here and now I’m a coach. Then we went to the visitors side to play Hargrave next and it was a different kind of feeling.

K-Park would go on to beat Hargrave 6-3 in nine innings as McEachern beat his alma mater.

Not too far in the stands was his father, Mike McEachern, who is Hargrave’s athletic director and football coach.

Mike did not wear a mixed Kingwood Park/Hargrave jersey for each team. He knows the Huffman Independent School District signs his checks.

Mike knew exactly where to sit during the tournament match.

“People were asking me where I was going to sit,” laughed Mike. “I said smack dab right in the middle. As a father, you want your child to succeed, and as someone who has worked at Huffman for 19 years, you want your program to win. I was a little torn, but she won the match and that’s all that matters.

Kelsie is in his third season as head coach.

She spent her freshman year in Karnes City (Class 3A) then moved to London (Class 3A) before returning to the Lake Houston area.

Now at the Class 5A level, she is ready to use what she learned in South Texas to make Kingwood Park one of the best programs in the Greater Houston area and the State of Texas.

“You know, in the past I’ve had to work with probably 18 girls in a program in total and you have to find a way to make your team work because that’s all you have,” Kelsie said. “I think it helped me become a better coach because now I have a lot of girls and I can use their skills to help the team win in certain situations.”

Mike is happy to have his daughter home.

He made trips to South Texas to see his daughter’s coach, which resulted in long nights and road trips. It’s fortunate that those road trips aren’t too far away now.

When she moved to the Lake Houston area for K-Park work, she didn’t have to stay with her mom and dad like she was in high school.

The 26-year-old is happy to be back closer to home.

“I believe this area of ​​Houston is one of the best for softball,” Kelsie said. “When I applied for the job they asked me how well I knew Kingwood Park. I told them our high school competed with them when I was at Hargrave. We always came here for tournaments volleyball and other sports. It’s a competitive field.”

Mike goes through Coach Mac and now his daughter also goes through Coach Mac.

So when they are together, they will both likely turn their heads to see which one was being tackled.

Coaching is in McEachern’s blood.

Kelsie was there alongside her dad as he scored over 100 wins in Hargrave for the baseball team and for the Friday Night Lights.

“From day one, she grew up in the dugout,” Mike said. “When I moved on to football, she walked away from me. She always wanted to be a head coach and she never wavered. She knew very early on what she wanted to do. It’s about be there for your players and build those relationships with them so they trust you and play for you as hard as they can.

Mike earned his 100th career win in the 2021-22 season on the football pitch and had three great seasons with the Hargrave football team. Under his leadership, the program has enjoyed historic seasons.

One was winning their first regional round playoff game in the 2020-21 season.

Kelsie might hit 100 games a little faster than her dad, but her coaching for success comes from the man she’s loved since day one.

“He’s the reason I coach,” Kelsie said. “It’s the culture that surrounded me when I was a child. I was the bat in the dugout, and I was sidelined on Friday. Seeing the amount of effort he has put in and the love he has for his children is something that is close to my heart and that is what I want to do in my coaching career. I like what I do.”

With 19 years of coaching experience, Mike has the edge when it comes to handling situations.

When Kelsie comes to dinner, she can always expect to hear words of wisdom for her father.

Maybe one day the two coaches will be in the same dugout, but for now the McEachern family is made up of the Falcons and the Panthers.

“I told her she just had to be patient,” Mike said. “Rome wasn’t built in a day and hard work will pay off. You are not always going to have a good day. She’ll call and we’ll talk about what happened in practice or at a game. As a coach, you have to be able to move on to the next play or pitch, because you can’t change the past. You can’t dwell so much on the past. You have to move fast every time because the next game could be a game changer.

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Twitter: @MarcG14Line

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