Former cheer coach honored for dedication, achievement
Since 1979, the FCS community has hired numerous faculty members that have influenced the school. Eunie McEntee is a staff member who went above and beyond to accomplish this. Her legacy at the school impacted students and teachers and shaped many of them into the people they are today.
In an effort to honor their former teacher, coach and friend, the campus cheerleaders and current coach Hope Villines, met to share their thanks and appreciation to McEntee, Sept. 14, at the Peoples Church Multipurpose Room.
Before McEntee came to Fresno Christian, she coached at Clovis High School from 1971-’79. At that time, there were not that many people interested in gymnastics, so she started an afterschool program. Tim Wilkins, who was superintendent at the time, suggested she come to Fresno Christian, so she came and worked part-time.
McEntee’s involvement in FC began in 1979, lasting 27 years until 2006. She started out working anywhere she was needed; computer typing, student council, Bible, student activities, drama, and P.E.
She holds many memories close to her heart, both from coaching and teaching. Many memories involved past teachers and students, such as former principal Gary ‘Papa’ Schultz and former junior high principal George Freeman.
“George Freeman and I taught a P.E. class together, and the kids like to play this game called Mission Impossible, where they would creep around classrooms and steal things,” McEntee said. “One time, we let them go into Papa Schultz’s office and steal little things from there. We had a meeting the next day and Papa said, ‘You guys need to be more aware of the children because they are playing this game and no one is stopping it.’ And George and I would just laugh. That was a good memory I had.”
A couple years after she came on staff, McEntee kickstarted the FC cheer program in 1982, revolutionizing the cheer curriculum. Her fellow staff members and students called her “Mrs. Mac;” her unorthodox teaching style left a lasting impact on her former students, who still cherish and remember her lively spirit.
For instance, McEntee was the first campus coach or teacher to take a team to a national competition in Anaheim. In 1993, McEntee took her cheer squad to the United Spirit Association nationals, where the team placed second in the nation.
One of her past cheerleaders, Katie Mendenhall, graduated and came back to co-coach with McEntee. She remembers McEntee’s love for the students that translated into her bright attitude.
“Mrs. Mac really taught us what it was to be full of purity and integrity as young girls,” Mendenhall said. “One of her other big things within the cheer program was just loving one another, and that love is not envious and it doesn’t boast. If you have love in your heart for others, that is the way you should interact with people all the time.”
Hope Villines, the current cheer coach, admired the way McEntee led her team through faith.
“She truly is a legend; I have coached this sport for 20 years – and I hope and pray that my former athletes will be able to say about me what Eunie’s ‘girls,’ say about her,” Villines said. “She poured the love of Jesus into them, they all knew that she loved them and she believed in them.”
McEntee’s services went beyond her role as a coach, her love for the students was evident in everything she did. Often times before class she would pray over the students’ chairs for the day, and emphasize love and integrity for her ‘kids’.
McEntee was diagnosed four years ago with ocular melanoma, a rare form of cancer that affects 6 out of 1,000,000 people. The cancer reached her liver, and physicians recently discovered more tumors. Despite the setback, McEntee remains positive and assures everyone that she feels great.
“It’s been a ‘Eunie’-que time and very humbling,” McEntee said. “When people are aware that you have a terminal disease they express themselves a lot more so you feel humbled by that. I feel blessed and even embarrassed by the attention. I want to give God the glory because it’s his story and I want to live my life well for the Lord.”
An open house dedicated to Eunie occurred Sept. 14 from 5-7 p.m. in the Peoples Church. The dessert function was designed to honor her service to the school and remember the impact she had on her lives.
Former students, friends, and family were invited to the function to gather around McEntee to provide love and support. Cheerleaders from Eunie’s past team came to support her and relive old memories.
Lots of cheerleaders had crazy memories from being taught under Eunie. One such adventure involved alumni Shannon Jorgensen, a cheerleader for Mrs. Mac her 7th-grade year all the way through high school.
“One weekend night the cheer squad was spending a night at my house,” Jorgensen said. “There was about 12 of us, and we got in my mom’s Cadillac and teepeed Mrs. Mac’s house. Well, the varsity snitched on us and so when we started teepeeing, Mac came out with a wolf mask and she started yelling at us and throwing flour on us and in the car. It was a crazy but memorable moment.”
A younger cheerleader, Samantha Krikorian, started cheer clinics 4th grade and participated in cheer until she graduated in 2008. She almost attended Buchanan 7th and 8th grade but knew she wasn’t going to have this opportunity anywhere else.
Although McEntee wasn’t the head coach at the time, she stayed heavily involved. Krikorian describes the eccentric coach as bubbly and the example of joy.
“She loves the girls in cheer; she just glows when she’s around cheering,” Krikorian said. “She has impacted my life greatly, especially in the most vital years when I was growing up. She gives the best advice, and she knows how to handle other people in difficult situations. She’s always positive and finds the good in everything.”
In all her years of teaching and coaching, FCS has impacted McEntee’s life the most.
She is grateful for the memories she shared with past friends and thankful for the wonderful opportunity to coach such sweet girls. She cherishes the times when they grew, laughed, and cried together.
She hopes the students at Fresno Christian realize that nothing lasts more than a relationship with people and God, God being number one. Her cancer just makes her stronger and caused her to love God more and more each day.
“I always like to use scripture because it is the foundation of truth and it never fails,” McEntee said. “When you go back there you have a solid foundation that’s the same yesterday, today and forever. I really like Micah 6:8, because it says to ‘act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’. So if that’s our foundation, there’s nothing that can harm us that comes our way.”
For cheerleaders or friends who missed the event and would like to comment, visit the FC Alumni Cheer Facebook page. Thank you, Hope Villines and Katie Mendenhall for hosting the event. For those who do not have a Facebook account or would like to share their memories of Eunie McEntee, leave a please comment below.
For more featured articles, read Home Ec. teacher looks forward to second year on campus. For more articles on cheer, read Varsity cheerleaders prepare next team for success.Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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