HUNTERSVILLE – Bob McKay wants to get the numbers up for the Lake Norman Charter football team. The new head coach said he not only wants to increase the number of players on the team but also the amount of weight his players can lift.
LNC announced the return of McKay – the first varsity coach in school history – Jan. 3. From 2010-13, McKay’s Knights had a 21-24 record that included a school-record 10 wins in 2012. He replaces Mark Steele, whose teams had an overall record of 17-39 and went 4-31 in conference play in five seasons. Steele will remain as an assistant coach.
When McKay stepped aside after a 5-7 season that included a first-round playoff loss, he cited the need to spend more time with his family.
“I have three kids, and at the time, none of my kids were even at the school,” McKay said Monday. “It was such a struggle to get to the kids’ practice or to get my wife to go to a race. I was just running myself ragged.”
Now, all three of his children attend the charter school, and his wife is in her first year of teaching there.
“All this back and forth travel, now non-existent, makes it a whole lot easier,” McKay said.
While Steele was leading the program, McKay was helping coach the middle school football team, where one of his sons played, and the lacrosse team.
LNC Athletic Director Matt Schlegel said since McKay has already spent time at the school – he also teaches high school math – the transition will be easier.
“Being a second stint, he’s been around the school, been around the program,” Schlegel said. “A lot of the growing pains is showing the LNC way.”
According to Schlegel, the 2018 team had about 40 players, but McKay would like to have 50 to 60. The team started doing strength and conditioning work Monday, both in the morning and afternoon.
“It was a good turnout for lifting,” McKay said. “We really have to start over. We’re a school who doesn’t have high numbers, so we have to be equally as strong.”
The 2012 team featured dual-threat back Alex Scearce, who compiled more than 1,500 total yards from scrimmage and scored 32 touchdowns. He later played at Coastal Carolina and was in training camp with the Chicago Bears in 2017.
“He’s a typical example of a kid who in middle school was not all that great,” McKay said, “But in high school, took it to a whole other level when he started lifting.”
Now Scearce is joining his former coach’s staff.
“He really wants to get in and work,” McKay said. “We’re excited.”
The Knights went 2-9 a year ago and had a second consecutive 0-7 mark in the South Fork 2A.
In the first four games of 2018, rising juniors Reid Mitchell and Jeff Womack combined for 68 pass attempts and five touchdowns.
And McKay will have Jaden Goodman, who was second on the team in rushing and receiving in 2018.
“It’s tough competition,” McKay said. “It’s a numbers game, too. We’ve got to build up our numbers to compete. Sometimes you see two or three times as many players on the other sideline. I think it all goes back to the prep in the offseason.”