It is with deep sadness we share the news of the passing of longtime Mountaineers coach John McDonald on October 8, 2021. He was 77.
From 1985 to 1992, John was the Mountaineers men's soccer head coach. As well, he was a long-time faculty member at Mohawk, teaching at the Stoney Creek campus.
John was inducted into the Mohawk College Mountaineer Hall of Fame in 2001 and the OCAA Hall of Fame in 2019.
John began teaching at Mohawk in June 1980 until his retirement in June 2010 as program coordinator for the college's electrical program. In 2016, he began teaching part-time and was currently teaching in the Electrical Engineering Technician program.
During his teaching career, John was a mentor and taught some of Mohawk's current faculty.
As the head coach of the men's soccer team, John elevated the program to new heights and created a legacy that continues to this day. During his years at the helm, John captured OCAA medals in four championships.
John coached the 1989-1990 Mountaineers to an OCAA championship and the CCAA championship. Following the 1988-89 and 1991-1992 seasons, John was named OCAA Coach of the Year.
The 1989-1990 team was also inducted into the Hamilton Soccer Hall of Fame.
It was the positive impact John had on the student-athletes on and off the pitch that many people remember. Numerous athletes under John were named OCCA all-stars, CCAA all-Canadians, CCAA tournament all-stars and Most Valuable Player, CCAA Top Goalkeeper, Mohawk's Male Freshman Athlete of the Year and Mohawk's Male Outstanding Athlete of the Year.
John McDonald touched many lives both personally and professionally over the years.
Our sincere condolences to John's children Craig, Evan, Lauren and Lisa, as well as stepson Jesse and stepdaughters Jessica and Lorraine, and his grandchildren.
Laurie Cahill, former Athletic Director, Mohawk College
"When I started as manager of athletics in 1985, John McDonald had already agreed to come on board as coach of the Mountaineer men's soccer program.
Those first few years were humble beginnings until John and his assistant coach Tom Bell were able to recruit student-athletes from their many contacts in the Hamilton soccer community. John and I would laugh reflecting on those days, how we'd stand outside the gym at busy periods holding a soccer ball. If anybody remotely showed interest we'd approach them to play.
In two short years we were a competitive force in the OCAA thanks to John, Tom and our first key recruit, Mountaineer Hall of Fame player Rob Cleugh. Then in 1989, John culminated his incredible resurrection of Mohawk soccer, leading us to Ontario (OCAA) and Canadian (CCAA) Championship victories, an incredible turnaround and a testimony to John's soccer coaching skills.
John was a gifted player himself also inducted into the Hamilton Soccer Hall of Fame and taught Technical Trades for 40 years at the Mohawk Stoney Creek campus.
Our thoughts and prayers are with John's family and many friends and former students who he shared his passion for Mohawk with on the field and the classroom."
John Gibson, Mohawk men's soccer head coach, 1992-2001
"John was a great mentor to me as a coach. A great friend. John was a very well respected person in the soccer community. He literally rebuilt the Mohawk soccer program from scratch. John's appearance as a coach at Mohawk College attracted good players to the college. I'm proud to have known him. Proud of the legacy he built at Mohawk College."
Rob Cleugh, former men's soccer athlete
"I knew Coach Mac long before we were together at Mohawk College. He was a great inspiration and mentor to me as a young player. It was a pleasure to play for John and Tommy Bell at the college.
He built a program that eventually earned Mohawk a National Championship for soccer. He wore his love for the game on his sleeve and his passion was undoubted.
He will be missed….RIP Coach."
Source: Mohawk Mountaineers