Former Cowboys coach joins Sooners staff
AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: McCollum.
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Since he was graduated from McCollum in 2002, Marcus Alvarado said he’d made it a goal to get back to his alma mater.
Therefore, when he learned that Luke Mackay had accepted a job as a graduate assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of Oklahoma, Alvarado had no hesitancy. McCollum football coach/athletic coordinator Juan Hinojosa said the former Cowboy was chosen about three weeks ago from a pool of about 20 applicants for the boys basketball job.
“At the time, I had a pretty good job where I was at,” Alvarado said, “but when this opportunity came up, I couldn’t.pass it up.”
Alvarado had been the lead assistant coach at Marshall High School the last two seasons. Previously, he was an assistant at Southwest. He is a Texas A&M University-San Antonio graduate.
“He’s an energetic guy and a McCollum grad,” Hinojosa said. “He knows what the expectations are. I think what impressed the (search) committee was his organization and enthusiasm.”
Mackay took the job at McCollum before the 2010-11 season. He coached the Cowboys to a 72-60 overall record and a 31-21 mark in district games. Under the Perth, Australia native’s guidance, McCollum qualified for the playoffs twice and never finished lower than fifth in its league.
However, Mackay felt much the same way about the Oklahoma opening as Alvarado did about the chance to go back to McCollum. He is joining veteran coach Lon Kruger’s staff with the Sooners.
“I simply could not turn down an opportunity like this to be a part of a great program in such a great league,” he said in an e-mail.
Mackay added that it was difficult to leave McCollum because of the relationships he had built with the players, parents and those connected with the school. However, he feels good about his time at the Harlandale ISD school.
“(Assistant coach) Rudy Fernandez and I worked very hard to build the program on and off the court,” Mackay said. “I feel like the amount of kids wanting to play basketball is a good indicator of the interest and support for the program and the values that we tried to represent. Last year we had over 90 kids in the basketball program.
“I believe the program is in a good place with interest at such a high level, very talented young players and a culture of hard work and discipline surrounding the kids. I am very excited to follow the Cowboys this year and can not wait for the season to get underway for them.”
Alvarado also expressed his enthusiasm for the season that soon will be at hand.
“Coach Fernandez has filled me in on what I needed to know,” he said. “I like what I see. We have pretty good potential to do some good things this year. It’s just about gettting in there and getting to work.”
Mackay’s teams played at a relentless pace and ran an offense baed on ball movement and three-point shooting. Alvarado said he is aiming to play even more intense defense and incorporate post play a little more in his offense than his predecessor.
“I don’t want to re-invent the world too much,” he said. “We want to get into the paint and get to the (foul) line. We want to be very disciplined and very well-prepared in our plan of attack.”
He wants to re-create the level of intensity the Cowboys teams he played for had under ex-coach Randy Evans.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity,” Alvarado said. “It’s something I’ve always worked toward, to be able to come back and give back to the community, as best I can. I’m glad it worked out.”