Don McConnaughey, longtime Highline College athletic director and track coach, died Feb. 8 at age 90.
McConnaughey retired from the college in 1993 after a 30-year career. Under his leadership, Highline’s track team won two NWAC Championships in 1968 and 1989.
“Don McConnaughey was the architect of the Highline College athletic department,” said Highline College Athletic Director John Dunn.
“His impact on the development of each and every sports program is still felt today. He was an amazing leader who always fought for the student athletes and the betterment of the athletic department,” Dunn said. “As well, he was a prominent leader in the NWAC and was instrumental in many of the rules and regulations that are still followed to this day.”
Very few people can support the word ‘legend,’ Dunn said, but “Don was indeed a legend. He will be sorely missed.”
McConnaughey was also hired to begin a football program at Highline College, and served as assistant coach for five years, said his son, Tom McConnaughey, national scout for the Los Angeles Chargers and former head football coach of Federal Way High School. The former Highline employee also served on the conference board and as a commissioner.
Don McConnaughey’s previous experience included five years coaching and teaching at Amarillo High School in Texas and coaching at the high school level in Norphlet, Arkansas.
McConnaughey played football and ran track at the University of Central Arkansas (formerly Arkansas State Teachers College) in 1949 and the early 1950s, where he was an all-conference end and one of the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference’s top sprinters during that time, his son said.
In 1951, Don McConnaughey’s college career was interrupted by two years of active combat duty serving in the Korean War, where his artillery outfit was involved in heavy firing on the front lines, his son said.
As a three-sport athlete at Rogers High School in the late 1940s, McConnaughey was an all-state end in football and a top high school sprinter at state track meets in Arkansas.