Wapsie Valley coach Marty McKowen shares state title moment with his son

Published: Apr. 5, 2020 at 2:48 PM CDT
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For four decades, Marty McKowen has been the head coach for the Wapsie Valley boys basketball team. Back in March, he led the Warriors to their first ever state title after beating Bishop Garrigan in the 1A title game, 65-53.

"The feeling is unbelievable," McKowen said.

It wasn't just a special moment because it was the school's first ever state title. McKowen also shared the moment with his son, Jon, who was helping the team as a consultant during the state tournament.

In the McKowen family, coaching is a way of life. Jon is the head basketball coach at Cedar Rapids Kennedy and his brother, Brooks, is the head men's basketball coach at Upper Iowa. For years, the family has helped each other get better as coaches.

"Christmas is always interesting at the house," Marty said laughing. "Jon and I and Brooks will always find some places to get to if we're all together and talk about what's going on in our seasons."

"As coaches, you're always stealing from each other," Jon said. "We're lucky enough as a family that I call dad. I call Brooks. I call Brittany."

During the state tournament, Jon shared some ideas for defensive or special plays to his dad and members of the coaching staff. In the championship game when only 100 people per school were allowed because of concerns over COVID-19, the coaching staff wanted Jon to be included in the group.

"Obviously it meant a lot because you want to be there," Jon said. "For my case, it's not the be there in case he wins, it was the be there to help out as much as possible."

It's a script that couldn't have been written any better. To top it off, the team's motto this season was, We Are Family.

"It was just a unique neat moment to be there and to be able to share that," Jon said.

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