SAGINAW COUNTY SPORTS HALL OF FAME
Lawrence H. McKinney was born in Saginaw
in 1944 and played football, basketball and baseball at
Arthur Eddy Junior High where he was on championship cage team. He played junior varsity basketball at Saginaw High School where he graduated in 1962. McKinney earned an Associates degree in Business from Delta College
in 1971, and in 1994 he earned a degree in Divinity and
Theology from Rhema Bible Training Center at the
University of Tulsa. McKinney began working in his teen years as a newspaper boy, and his adult work career included stints at Saginaw Steering Gear (1963-78), Michigan Bell Telephone (1978-81), Trinity St. John (1981-85), his own landscape company (1985-1993), and The Saginaw News (1993-2006), before retiring. McKinney’s legacy began in 1973 after a group of youths broke into his Saginaw home. When he discovered the young culprits, he didn’t turn them in; he recruited them for a baseball league. It’s estimated McKinney easily coached over 600 organized youth sports teams over 35 years (1973-2008), including many Knothole baseball teams, Saginaw Friendship Games, and Gus Macker Tournaments. He was a positive Christian adult role model and taught life lessons through athletics with his favorite game, baseball, and at least a half-dozen different sports in the Saginaw’s school-based community education program. McKinney was widely known for his 38 years as the official caretaker of Veteran’s Memorial Park where he cut grass, planted flowers, picked up litter, cleaned restrooms, and convinced the city to restore water at the park. The annual basketball tournaments at Vet’s Park featured hundreds of city youths – some with checkered pasts – and he was very proud that there was not one act of violence in all those years. McKinney coached thousands of boys and girls in Saginaw, including Archie Tullos, Ramont Roberts, Brian Pruitt, Alphonso Boone, LaMarr Woodley, Draymond Green, Darquavis Tucker, Monquiz Wedlow and Amos O’Neal. The Heavenrich Elementary School gymnasium was named in his honor in 2000, and his portrait also hangs in the school. In 2009, a six-foot tall granite monument bearing Coach McKinney’s name and his favorite statement: “Praise the Lord” was unveiled at the renamed Veterans McKinney Park. An annual coach McKinney Park clean-up is now held at the park. McKinney died February 13, 2008, at the age of 63, and is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery.
CLASS OF 2014