After graduating from The Ranney School in Tinton Falls, N.J., George McDonnell hoped to make the roster of the Quincy College men’s soccer team that was in the midst of a decade of dominance in the NAIA.
“Then when I got to Quincy and looked at the competition level, I realized there was no way,” McDonnell said.
McDonnell eventually made his mark in soccer in Quincy, but in a different way. He’s entering his 30th year as an assistant coach for either the boys or girls soccer teams.
After graduating from Quincy College in 1977, McDonnell taught and coached at Chaddock for seven years, taking two teams to state tournament trophies in the Illinois Inter-Agency Athletic Association. He then tried his hand in the insurance business for three years before returning to education as a religion instructor at QND. Frank Longo, the boys soccer coach at the time, remembered McDonnell when he was an assistant at Quincy College and asked him to help with the QND boys.
McDonnell also was an assistant for Mark Longo and Greg Reis with the boys teams. He also coached girls basketball for five years. When his son Aiden started playing high school soccer, McDonnell stopped coaching the boys and started coaching the girls with Mark Longo.
McDonnell says he has been happy being an assistant all these years.
“I enjoy watching kids who aspire to make it to the top level and push them,” he sauid. “I never thought I had the personality to be the head coach. Frank would always tell me, ‘Here’s your team, go over there and practice.’ And Mark did the same thing. ‘Here’s your team, go over here and practice.’ I always felt I had my own team. Had I just stood around and watched them coach, I probably would have wanted to become the head coach, but they always gave me that autonomy to do what I wanted to do.”
McDonnell and his wife, Betty, have four children – Lauren, Emily, Anna and Aiden. He continues to teach religion at QND.