Don McConnaughey, courtesy photo

Don McConnaughey, courtesy photo

Longtime Highline College coach, athletic director dies at 90

Don McConnaughey was the ‘architect of the Highline College athletic department.’

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.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

Don McConnaughey, courtesy photo

More in Sports

A Decatur High School athlete works out at a conditioning practice on Feb. 23. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror
The Todd Beamer Titans football team in Federal Way during a 2019 summer practice. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror
FWPS athletes to begin in-person practices Feb. 18

The North Puget Sound League, which includes Federal Way schools, will have three distinct sports seasons beginning March 8.

Photo courtesy of Seattle Sounders FC
Seattle Sounders sign Federal Way native Kelyn Rowe

Rowe, 29, is a Federal Way High School graduate.

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

Floyd Little was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010 after a 30-year wait. File photo
Jaden McDaniels pictured at a Federal Way High School game vs. Rogers High School in February 2019. Photo courtesy of Senad Tiric
Federal Way’s Jaden McDaniels drafted to NBA

The FWHS graduate was drafted to the Minnesota Timberwolves as the 28th pick overall.

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.

In this file photo from March 2020, the Federal Way High School boys basketball team reacts in the final minutes of the state quarterfinals game against Mt. Si High School. File photo
New guidelines released for return of prep sports in WA

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.

File Photo/Kent Reporter
Emerald Downs increases horse racing purses

Betting up 67% over last year

Sports card fanatic finds a home at FW Farmers Market
Sports card fanatic finds a home at FW Farmers Market

Richard Davis, 87, sells sports cards from his 100,000 card collection at the farmers market each week.

Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices
Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices

Before practice begins, parents must understand COVID-19 protective protocols

Fall sports postponed for FWPS middle, high schools
Fall sports postponed for FWPS middle, high schools

The NPSL recently moved all Season 1 sports into Season 3 beginning in March.