Way back in 1999 when Dennis McNamara took over as coach for the sophomore girls’ volleyball team, he certainly had high expectations for himself and his team. And when he took over the varsity program for Mary Kay Nichols in 2002, those ambitions only grew. But after last Thursday night’s win, McNamara now joins a club that many energetic, young coaches might have ambitions to become a part of some day. McNamara notched coaching win number 300 with his girls volleyball program as the Spartans defeated Reavis on the road Thursday.
As for what McNamara does to push his teams to success, he simply says, “My method for success is teaching the game and demanding effort when we compete.”
McNamara has been a picture of stability and success at Oak Lawn. In all, he has two South Suburban Conference Coach of the Year Awards, two Fred Parks Coach of the Year Awards at Oak Lawn, and one Southtown Coach of the Year Award. In addition to the 300 wins with the girls’ program, he currently has 236 victories with the boys.
As for his teams, the boys and girls have each won seven South Suburban Conference Red Championships. With the girls, his teams have won four Illinois High School Association Regional titles and with the boys, they have won six regional championships.
After winning so many games, one might think he would have a specific game or match that stands out in his memory. However, the athletes are what make this accomplishment so special for McNamara.
“I don’t think I can give you just one specific win,” he said. “I think back on all the kids I have gotten to coach here and the time and effort they put in in order for me to reach this milestone in my career. I have been truly blessed to have coached so many great athletes and even better people.”
The season continues for McNamara’s Spartans on October 11 at the Lincoln-Way Central Tournament.