CLOSE

Coach Mark McGarity's wife, Lisa, sings his story to "Beverly Hillbillies" theme song. McGarity will retire after 2019 state track meet Scott Clair, Special to the Naples Daily News

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

The Lely High School track and field teams will compete at the Class 2A championships on Friday and Saturday in Jacksonville.

After the last racer crosses the finish line, so will Trojans' Mark McGarity. He will retire.

For McGarity, it has been a long, long run as a local coach — 38 years long.

When his career toed the starting line in 1981, initially at Lely, McGarity was an Olympic-caliber marathoner, Ronald Reagan was in his first term as president, and rotary phones were still a thing.

“It’s just the right time,” McGarity said, his wife, Lisa, seated next to him in their East Naples home. “I’m tired. I’m going to miss my kids, but it’s time.

“It almost makes me cry.”

More: High school track: Dunbar boys, girls runners-up in 2A region meet; CSN's Brown wins twice

With that, the 65-year-old McGarity’s eyes began to well up. So many memories. So many kids. So many coaches.

Time and distance.

It was 1979 when McGarity first arrived in Naples from New Orleans. He came here to train for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials and never left.

An injury dashed his Olympic dreams, but eventually gave birth to his coaching and teaching careers.

McGarity was hired as a science teacher at Lely in 1981 and named the Trojans cross country and track and field coach.

He stayed for a few years before moving on to St. John Neumann, then to Naples High, and Immokalee High. He returned to Lely in 1995, where he has remained since, coaching cross country and track, and teaching marine science and anatomy and physiology.

“Thirty-eight years. Mark is definitely in a class of his own,” said Bill Mottola, Lely’s athletic director. “Not many people can, or want, to coach that long.

“Mark has given so much of his time and life to our school and to our students. His best attribute is the relationships he’s been able to form with the students, coaches, and the entire Lely community.

“Mark will definitely be missed. And like every great coach, Mark is a great teacher.”

More: High school track: Lehigh, Naples shine at 3A-3 regional meet

In 2001, McGarity was awarded a Golden Apple, which recognizes Collier County’s best teachers.

But it’s been on the cross-country courses and track, and in students’ lives, where McGarity has made his mark.

He has helped guide numerous athletes to individual state titles, and Trojans teams to regional and district championships.

“Mark is the greatest of coaches,” said Sander Langebeeke, who ran for Lely from 2006 to 2010. “His commitment to the kids is unmatched. He set the foundation for this program and was able to instill the value of hard work into all his kids.”

Langebeeke, a math teacher at Lely, will take over for McGarity in the fall as the boys cross country coach.

“I’m a little nervous about it,” he said. “I’ve got some really big shoes to fill, but if I can do a fraction of what Mark has done, then I’ve accomplished a lot.”

Photos: Class 3A District 12 Track and Field Meet

McGarity didn’t start out to be a runner, but a football player instead. Born in North Carolina, McGarity grew up in Slidell, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans.

As an eighth-grader, he tried out for the football team, found out he could outrun everybody on the team, and joined the track team the next year at Slidell High.

As a senior, McGarity won an individual state title and earned a scholarship to College of the Ozarks in Missouri.

“Running changed my life,” McGarity said. “It got me an education, and gave me the opportunity, and made me grateful, to give back.”

More: High school track and field: Naples dominates on home turf in CCAC meet

McGarity has been coaching for so long that he has coached parents and then their children. Thousands of kids have come through his programs.

“Running is all about discovering yourself and what you can do,”  he said. “A lot of kids learned through running that they can compete through desire and effort. You do the best you can and that’s what matters most. That’s where the win is.”

So what has changed in the 38 years of his coaching career?

“Smart phones,” McGarity said. “It’s really a big effort to have kids understand their phone is not their life, and to put the phone down and get to work.”

More: 12 schools in Florida made the top 100 in U.S. News & World Report's national ranking of schools

McGarity will also retire from teaching at the end of the school year. How does he plan to spend his time?

“To work on things around the house that need it and to get myself back together physically,” he said.

In the past year McGarity broke a shoulder and had a knee replaced. He plans to start running again.

Video: Gulf Coast, Naples win track district titles

And though he said he’s done with coaching, McGarity won’t be done with the local running scene.

A member of the Gulf Coast Runners, and a member of that organization's hall of fame, McGarity will still serve as race director of the Marco Island 5-Mile Run, as he has for the past 20 years.

And on May 11, he will happily oversee the GCR’s Tropicool 5K in downtown Naples. At that event, more than $56,000 in scholarship money will be awarded to 20 local high school runners.

CONSIDER SUBSCRIBING TODAY: Help support local journalism

As always, for McGarity, it’s about the students.

“The most important thing is to let them know you care by having expectations for them on the track and in the classroom,” he said. “If you have high expectations for kids, they will step up. That’s what I’ve learned in my 38 years.”

And how did he last so many years?

“Simple,” McGarity said. “I love what I do.”

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

More: U.S. News & World Report: Three Collier high schools rank in top 75 in Florida

State track and field meet

When: Friday-Saturday

Where: University of North Florida, Jacksonville

Info: FHSAA.com

Collier County

1A

Community School of Naples

Girls

Loren Brown, 100 Hurdles, 300 Hurdles

Grace O’Malley, 3,200 Run

Boys

Jackenson Felix, Discus

Nick Molloy, Pole Vault

Peter Shaffer, 800 Run

First Baptist Academy

Girls

Katelyn Beam, 1,600 Run, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Sydney Beam, 300 Hurdles, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Hannah Casey, Long Jump, 300 Hurdles

Grace Dean, Long Jump, Triple Jump

Avery Erikson, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Morgan Forrer, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Sloane Janopoulos, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Annika Lindquist, 400 Relay

Amanda Lines, 400 Relay

Malaya Melancon, High Jump, Triple Jump, 400 Relay

Gena Munn, 400 Relay

Emily Simoldoni, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Aaliyah Smith, 1,600 Relay

Boys

Dario Araya, 400 Relay

Kyle Batiato, 400 Relay

Thomas Casey, Long Jump, 100 Dash, 400 Relay

Austin Edie, 400 Relay

Ethan Fletcher, 400 Relay

Colby Gonzalez, 400 Relay

Jacob Panzarella, 100 Dash, 400 Relay

Jorge Santos, 400 Relay

Erick Tello, Discus

Nicholas Tompkins, High Jump

Marco Island Academy

Girls

Suzie Linn, 100 Hurdles

Seacrest Country Day

Girls

Rebecca Weir, High Jump

Boys

Vojtech Horak, 1,600 Run

Srdjan Kopunovic, Shot Put

St. John Neumann

Girls

Natalie Bergstrom, 1,600 Relay

Natalie Bongirno, 1,600 Relay

Ashley De Armas, 1,600 Relay

Serena Fox, 1,600 Relay

Samantha Hussey, Shot Put

Bianca Jean-Felix, 1,600 Relay

Allyson Kane, 1,600 Relay

Grace Kane, Long Jump, 1,600 Relay

Leah Martin-Gonzales, Long Jump, 100 Hurdles, 1,600 Relay

Jaime Amoroso, 400 Relay

Boys

Thomas Anderson, 3,200 Relay

Timothy Birmingham, 3,200 Relay

Dennis Cilenski, 3,200 Relay

Daniel DeSantis, 400 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Joesph Donohue, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Jonah Gal, 3,200 Relay

Joshua Gulapa, 110 Hurdles

Ryan Kohlhagen, 300 Hurdles, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Noah LaLonde, 400 Relay

Justin Mathieu, Long Jump, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Andrew Mitchell, 800 Run, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Alexander Myrin, 110 Hurdles, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

John Paul Raiger, 200 Dash, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

John Roy, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

2A

Immokalee

Girls

Heaven Cummings, Discus, Shot Put

Lely

Girls

Parmelie Andris, 100 Hurdles

Maria De Clercq, 3,200 Relay

Beegaelle Desit, 3,200 Relay

Alexandra Ditheridge, 3,200 Relay

Maria Antonia Duran, 3,200 Relay

Sarah Nemeth, 3,200 Relay

Laura Poelstra, 3,200 Relay

Ellie Poling, 3,200 Relay

Lauren Shiveler, 3,200 Relay

Boys

Anthony Alvarez, 3,200 Relay

Keneth Anyaehie, Shot Put

Jonis Dieudonne, Triple Jump

Gregory Joespn, Pole Vault

Sergio Morancy, Long Jump, Triple Jump

Samuel Nemeth, 3,200 Relay

Michael Poling, 3,200 Relay

Ian Garcia-Rivera, 3,200 Run, 1,600 Relay

Jose Sanchez, 3,200 Relay

Judd St. Cyr, 3,200 Relay

Quentin Warren, 3,200 Relay

Antonio Zavala, 3,200 Relay

 

3A

Barron Collier

Girls

Sofia Laccetti, High Jump

Boys

Tristan Bashaw, 3,200 Relay

Walker Brunner, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Jose Cosme, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Juan Cosme, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Jay Hurd, 400 Dash, 1,600 Relay

Martin Lawrence, 1,600 Relay

Bryan Magalhaes, 3,200 Relay

Joshua Ostler, 3,200 Relay

Elkhanan Tanelus, Discus, Shot Put

 

Estero

Girls

Savannah Beasley, 3,200 Relay

Anna Bonini, 3,200 Relay

Madison Cairo, 3,200 Relay

Averie Coup, 3,200 Relay

Laura Godsea, 3,200 Relay

Madison Hood, 3,200 Relay

Mia Perez, 3,200 Relay

Zoe Perez, 3,200 Relay

Boys

Hugh Brittenham, 800 Run, 1,600 Run

Kolton Pickard, 3,200 Meter Run

 

Golden Gate

Girls

Kechenide Cherubin, Discus, Shot Put

Jasmine Dera, Triple Jump

Gulf Coast

Girls

Kennedy Callis, 3,200 Relay

Morgan Delaney, 3,200 Relay

Sage Fitzgerald, 3,200 Relay

Jackie George, Pole Vault

Maeve Gillen, 3,200 Relay

Kikeila Joesph, Shot Put

Olivia Lamontagne, 3,200 Relay

Grace Meusing, 3,200 Relay

Erika Sodeika, 3200 Relay

Samantha Stokyis, Discus

Camille Strackbein, 3,200 Relay

Bessline Verneau, Shot Put

Boys

Micah Evans, Pole Vault

Nickolas Kamen, 3,200 Run

Kenneth Martin, Shot Put

 

Naples

Girls

Zoe Dantonio, 800 Run, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Jillian Dempsey, 1,600 Run, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Dayna Dorestin, 3,200 Relay

Miloudrede Etienne, Triple Jump, 1,600 Relay

Merlica Faustin, 400 Run, 800 Run, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Molie Jean-Baptiste, High Jump, 1,600 Relay

Julia Marceau, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Ericka Mogelvang, High Jump

Olivia Ponton, 1,600 Relay

Logan Straface, 3,200 Relay

Marina Turchetta, 1,600 Relay

Boys

Jack Ahearn, Pole Vault

Cole Breton, Pole Vault

Dorian Hinton, Discus, Shot Put

Tyreese Small, High Jump

Jett Su, Discus, Shot Put

Elijah Wright, 400 Dash

 

Palmetto Ridge

Girls

Sonia Lountchenko, 3,200 Run

Morgan Palmer, 1,600 Run, 3,200 Run

Elizabeth Schulles, Discus

Beverly St. Preux, Discus

Boys

Saindeley Dorsainvil, 800 Run

Kamonte Grimes, Long Jump

 

Lee County 

Canterbury

Girls

Katie Ambrose, 3,200 Relay

Michelle Barnes, 3,200 Relay

Giana D’Altrui, 3,200 Relay

Alyssa Dellutri, 3,200 Relay

Kendall Flaharty, 3,200 Relay

Samantha Stenstrud, 3,200 Relay

Bailey White, 3,200 Relay

Anna Haber, High Jump

Jessica Edwards, 800 Run, 1,600 Run, 3,200 Relay

Boys

Konner Barrett, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Dominic Camarca, 1,600 Relay

David Cato, 3,200 Relay

Alex Gonzalez, 1,600 Relay

Patrick Horan, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Zachary Loveland, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Andrew McCallion, 3,200 Relay

Tyler Muenscher, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Bryson Royal, Triple Jump, 3,200 Relay

Jeremy Summers, 3,200 Relay

Evangelical Christian

Girls

Alexa Bereczki, 400 Dash, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Sydney Land, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Moriah Oliviera, 100 Dash, 200 Dash, 400 Dash, 1,600 Relay

Sierra Oliviera, 400 Dash, 800 Dash, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Ava Povich, 3,200 Relay

Claire Valentine, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Elizabeth Wetmore, 800 Run, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Southwest Florida Christian

Girls

Rebekah Bergquist, Shot Put, Discus

Trinity Hernandez, Shot Put, Discus

Marissa Jacobs, Discus

Emily Laymon, Triple Jump

Annelisa Swiersz, 3,200 Run

Boys

Nicholas Gerald, Discus

Justin Losapio, 1,600 Relay

Michael Mueller, 1,600 Relay

Isaiah Paulec, High Jump, 1,600 Relay

Cole Proper, 1,600 Relay

Nathanial Riley, 1,600 Relay

Ethan Tank, 3,200 Run

Carson Wallace, 1,600 Relay

Ryan Walrod, 1,600 Relay

 

2A

Bishop Verot

Girls

Hailey Albrecht, 3,200 Relay

Jessica Bedoya, 3,200 Relay

Mia Cross, 3,200 Relay

Analise Lewis, 100 Dash, 200 Dash, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Lauren Mills, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Samantha Muller, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Savannah Nippa, Discus

Ella Sarnac, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Sophia Shahriari, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Jasmine Simpson, 400 Relay

Mackenzie Thomas, 1,600 Relay

Maddison Thomas, 3,200 Relay

Boys

Carsen Volz, Discus

Dunbar

Girls

Trinity Adams, 100 Hurdles, 300 Hurdles, 400 Relay

Jumiracle Crumbly, 400 Relay

Melanie Hardwick, Triple Jump, 400 Relay

Sanaa Motley, 100 Hurdles, 400 Relay

Trenaysha Nance, High Jump

Gabriella Soloma, 100 Dash, 400 Relay

Teera Stewart, 100 Dash, 200 Dash, 400 Relay

Enyah Thompkins, 400 Relay

Lucheyona Weaver, 100 Hurdles, 300 Hurdles, 400 Relay

Boys

Ronnie Brown, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Reggie Denson, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Jadarius Green-McKnight, 400 Relay

Tionte Hatcher, Triple Jump

Ber’Nargey Jackson, 1,600 Relay

Jarvis Jones, 100 Dash, 400 Relay

Tyrel Kennedy, 200 Dash, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Roger Motley III, 400 Dash, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Leonard Mustari, 110 Hurdles

Renald Pierre, 300 Hurdles

Seneca Milledge, Long Jump, 100 Dash, 400 Relay

Damien Simmonds, High Jump, 400 Dash, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Caleb Snowden, High Jump

Greg Thomas, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Nicholos Thomas, 400 Relay

Kevoun Watts, High Jump

Major Williams, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

 

Gateway Charter

Girls

Tori Cooper, Long Jump

3A

Cape Coral

Girls

Nyla Alexander, 400 Relay

Na Tayla Clark, 100 Hurdles, 400 Relay

Chania Crowder, 400 Relay

Jennifer Jacoby, 3,200 Relay

Jasmine Jimenez, 400 Relay

Natalee Jones, 3,200 Relay

Joilynn Lewis, 400 Relay

Kelsey Miskimins, 3,200 Relay

Jalis Rodriguez, 400 Relay

Kayla Spencer, 3,200 Relay

Cheyenne Young, 3,200 Run, 3,200 Relay

Boys

Treshaun Clark, Shot Put

Estero

Girls

Savannah Beasley, 3,200 Relay

Anna Bonini, 3,200 Relay

Madison Cairo, 3,200 Relay

Averie Coup, 3,200 Relay

Laura Godsea, 3,200 Relay

Madison Hood, 3,200 Relay

Mia Perez, 3,200 Relay

Zoe Perez, 3,200 Relay

Boys

Hugh Brittenham, 800 Run, 1,600 Run

Kolton Pickard, 3,200 Run

 

Fort Myers

Girls

Alexandra Chlumsky, Pole Vault

Megan Denny, 1,600 Relay

Anna Fischler, 3,200 Relay

Emma Harris, 3,200 Relay

Julia Holston, 3,200 Relay

Elizabeth Imbody, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Sarah Laboda, 3,200 Relay

Katrina Lee, 1,600 Relay

Caroline Mackenzie, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Gabriella Navas, 1,600 Relay

Stephy Ormsby, 1,600 Run, 3,200 Relay

Sarah Schultz, 1,600 Run, 3,200 Relay

Idalia Talbert, Triple Jump

Jaziah Victor, 1,600 Relay

Boys

Elijah Butz, 110 Hurdles, 300 Hurdles

Jacob Lemmon, Discus, Shot Put

Xavier Pantig, Pole Vault

 

Ida Baker

Girls

Dashnie Dervil, 100 Hurdles

Kennice Beaubrun, Triple Jump, 1,600 Relay

Boys

Cody Brown, 3,200 Relay

Cole Brown, 1,600 Relay

Franklin Caceras, 3,200 Relay

Brendan Faulkner, 400 Dash, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Jacob Fritz, 3,200 Relay

Brian McKellep, 1,600 Relay

Ryan Ringer, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Island Coast

Boys

Fazion Johnson, 400 Dash

Lehigh

Girls

Ba’Lisha Coleman, 400 Relay

Dariona Fleming, 400 Relay

Satoria Gary, 400 Relay

Kearrah Martin, 400 Relay

Briana Ramos, 400 Relay

Boys

Jeremiah Davis, Long Jump, Triple Jump, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Tyge Davis, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Tavarish Dawson, 100 Dash, 200 Dash, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Anderson Felix, 800 Run, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Carlos Garcia, 3,200 Relay

Aljarius Kelley, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Correy Massey, 400 Relay

Willie McCray, 1,600 Relay, 3,200 Relay

Percy Milledge, 400 Relay

Prenece Milledge, 400 Relay

Evan Myer, 3,200 Relay

Antwoine Thomas, 110 Hurdles

 

North Fort Myers

Girls

Kaylen Buckner, 400 Relay

Sarah Byrd, Discus

Katie Dickey, High Jump, 400 Relay

Lamiya Evans, 400 Relay

Samantha Flecha, 400 Relay

Alanna Hause, 400 Relay

Emilee Hauser, 400 Relay

Tramya Henry, 400 Relay

Keeanna McCaulley, 400 Relay

Boys

Tyrone Campbell, 400 Relay

Johnathan Charles, 200 Dash, 400 Relay

Jalen Ellis, 400 Relay

Jordan Goodwin, 400 Relay

Joshua Hornstein, 400 Relay

Michael Johnson, Long Jump, 400 Relay

Shomari Mason, Triple Jump, 400 Relay

Parker O’Dell, 400 Relay

Maximus Rodriguez, Shot Put

 

Mariner

Boys

Rashawn Hunter, Triple Jump

Alexander Singh, 800 Run

Victor Wright, Discus

 

Riverdale

Girls

Mahogany Frison, 300 Hurdles

Boys

Mathlin Altimeaux, 1,600 Relay

Jaylin Cochran, 110 Hurdles, 300 Hurdles, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Angel De Dios, 200 Dash Adaptive

Trevor Dinkens, 1,600 Relay

Travis Edison, 400 Relay

Dylan Frison, 400 Relay

Teashawn Paul, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Klayton Roth, 400 Relay, 1,600 Relay

Nick Sanabria, 1,600 Relay

South Fort Myers

Boys

Julian Durham, High Jump

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE