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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Massey ’74 Reflects on Time at Knox Following 1000th Coaching Win

With over 50 years of coaching and teaching experience, Evan Massey ’74 has cemented a legacy of passion and mentorship in the Galesburg school district. Now, crossing the 1000-win threshold in his coaching career, Massey’s leadership achievements have been woven into the history of Galesburg High School sports.

Massey's roots run deep at Knox. His mother and brother were both graduates and his grandfather worked as a custodian on campus. Though his familial connections helped guide him, Massey was strongly drawn to Knox by Harley Knosher. He says Knosher was like a legendary figure to him at the time and was struck by his enthusiasm and energy for the College. 

Basketball became a central theme in Masey's Knox experience, alongside majoring in American Studies. The era was marked by success, with Massey and the Knox team making it to the conference championship in his senior year. Reflecting on those times, he underscores the influence of Coach Knosher. Massey says the privilege of having Knosher as a coach turned out to be a life-changing experience. As he continues down his current career of coaching, Massey says he has grown a greater appreciation for the mentorship Knosher provided.

“Having him as a coach was a privilege,” Massey said. “To this day, I don’t know if people truly understand the impact he had on the entire Knox community. You could feel it across campus.” 

Massey's own coaching journey began in his senior year at Knox when he helped initiate the women's basketball program, working in a co-coaching arrangement with Knox Athletic Department Secretary Vernie Mendrek. This early exposure to coaching laid the groundwork for a lifelong dedication to the profession. Massey would be inducted into the Knox-Lombard Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.

Shortly after graduating from Knox and serving as a social studies teacher for Galesburg District 205, Massey was named head coach for high school girls' basketball. His tenure witnessed notable successes over 46 years and counting, including a deep run in the state tournament in 1996, multiple top-four finishes, and, most recently, a remarkable 1000-win milestone.

For Massey coaching is not just about the numbers—it's about the players, assistant coaches, parents, and the collective effort that goes into every victory. Humble and reflective, Massey doesn't claim ownership of those wins, but shares them with the community that has been an integral part of his journey.

As Massey celebrates this milestone achievement, his commitment to the game and the players is unwavering. The excitement, intensity, and engagement persisted from his time playing at Knox to the historic 1000 win, a testament to his enduring passion. Massey says he isn’t comfortable comparing himself to Knosher or proclaiming himself as one of the best. Instead, he considers himself blessed to have worked in Galesburg—a community that values basketball and where he found himself in the right place at the right time.
“The excitement never goes away. The wins, the losses, the whole process is still just as engaging,” Massey said. “There aren’t many careers where someone could be so involved for so long and I’m blessed to be here.” 

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Printed on Monday, May 20, 2024