Bee file, 2000 Ron McKenna is one of 10 Sacramento State alumni who will be inducted into the Hornets Men's Basketball Coaches' Circle on Thursday.

Hometown Report: Sac State basketball to honor McKenna, others

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 2C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 - 8:06 pm

The old gang will gather at Sacramento State on Thursday night to exchange basketball stories and compare knee replacement scars.

With just enough stretching, Ron Mc-Kenna said Monday, he could round up the troops for one last three-man weave warmup drill. "More like a slow-man weave," McKenna said.

McKenna is one of 10 Sac State alumni – with a combined 250 years of coaching experience – who will be inducted Thursday into the Hornets Men's Basketball Coaches' Circle.

"What an honor this is," said McKenna, 76. "I'm tremendously humbled, and I'll be with a group of guys I've known forever."

Of the 10, McKenna is the only one still coaching.

Now the assistant junior varsity coach at Sheldon High School, McKenna has been coaching back-door cuts, defense and discipline since 1956. He thanks his wife of 51 years, Diana, for her patience in allowing him his six-decade hobby. McKenna said a big reason he returned to the sideline this season for the first time in 11 years is the opportunity to mentor his grandson, Matt Manning, a freshman at Sheldon.

Manning, a 6-foot-1 guard, is the son of ex-Center High and NBA player Rich Manning, McKenna's son-in-law and an assistant for Sheldon's varsity, where he works with his other son, Ryan, a 6-6 sharpshooting senior.

McKenna, a Red Bluff native and 1956 Sac State graduate, landed his first physical education job at Immaculate Conception School in Sacramento. The basketball coaching duty that came with it hooked him for life.

McKenna coached 13 years at Kit Carson Middle School and also had stints at Sacramento, Christian Brothers and Kennedy high schools. He was an assistant at Sac State from 1988 to 1992.

He even spent one season last decade assisting third and fourth graders at Sierra Oaks Elementary School in Sacramento, after a family member asked if he could get the girls to stop watching butterflies long enough to pick up an outlet drill.

"Even did one year coaching in Lebanon, in 2000," McKenna said. "Rich Manning was on a pro team in Beirut. I went over to spend some time with him. Started talking to the head coach, and he asked if I wanted to help. Sure. You can say I've coached everywhere now."

The others who will inducted with Mc-Kenna are a who's who of basketball lore:

Dick Galvin: Grant, 1961-69; Foothill Farms Junior High, 1969-84.

George Goto: Roseville, 1955-62; Sierra College, 1962-74.

Jim Greene: Delta High, 1965-74.

John Karsten: Highlands, 1962-65; Foothill, 1965-70; American River, 1970-75.

Al Manfredi: Rio Americano, 1969-91.

Bob McCoy: Encina, 1963-68; Winston Churchill Middle School, 1969-94; Mira Loma, 1969-75; La Sierra, 1981-85.

Gordon Pistochini: Bella Vista, 1967-84.

John Rankin: Del Oro, 1966-83; Sierra College, 1985-96.

Carl Youngstrom: Las Palmas Junior High, 1952-57; Norte Del Rio, 1957-82; Grant, 1982-88.

McKenna said some of his former players became teachers and coaches; other became administrators, doctors, lawyers, government employees, car salesmen and construction workers. One even became a mayor.

Under McKenna, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson led the state in scoring in 1983 at Sac High before going on to Cal and the Phoenix Suns.

In addressing the Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame induction class at the former Power Balance Pavilion on Sunday, Johnson said his fondest athletic memories were from high school, under McKenna.

"Great man," Johnson said. "Learned so much from him."

Editor's note: This story was changed Oct. 16 to correct the years that Al Manfredi coached at Rio Americano.

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