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Faculty Spotlight: Dennis McDonald

Name: Dennis McDonald

Current Position: Director of Athletics

Hometown: Valdosta, Georgia

Degrees and Grad Year: Evangel College: Bachelor, Physical Education/Health, 1984; Southwest Missouri State: Masters of Secondary School Administration, 1990; Valdosta State University: Specialist Secondary School Administration, 1996; Dallas Baptist University: Doctor of Educational Leadership, 2015

Tell us about your career and what you do now.

I started my career as a public school teacher and as both an assistant football and head basketball coach at the middle school level in Valdosta, Georgia. From there, I moved to Evangel as an assistant football coach and assistant professor in the physical education area. I left Evangel in 1993 to accept a position as assistant principal at the middle school level back in my hometown. I served in that position for three years and then was named as principal of the school that hired me out of college several years before. I served as principal at the middle school for two years before accepting the position of principal of Bremen High School in Bremen, Georgia. From there, I moved the family to Frisco, Texas to become an assistant principal at Staley Middle School. I served in that position for two years before being named principal at Staley. This began a tenure of 13 years as principal before being named Director of Athletics at Evangel.

What is your favorite memory as faculty?

I always loved the challenge of teaching badminton and tennis to students with less athletic skills. We had a lot of fun trying to serve that shuttlecock or tennis ball and swinging and missing. Chapel with students is always a favorite memory. I also have wonderful memories of Christmas parties with the athletic and PE staff over at Dr. Stair’s house. Finally, a good badminton match against Dr. Stair or Coach Jenkins during lunchtime was always lots of fun. If memory serves me correctly, I always won…

How do you help your students identify/develop their calling?

I am more in a support role with this these days. I try to do what I can to support the coaches in their efforts to serve the athletes.

How do you try to prepare them for life after graduation?

I think athletes can be the most prepared of all students because of the work ethic they must have to compete in athletics and stay up on their coursework. They have to be skillful planners with their limited time each day. Athletes are placed in numerous situations where they must make split-second decisions in competition. These challenges will prepare them well, if they will embrace the challenges and work for success.

What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?

Learn how to backward plan. Determine due dates and then plan “backward” the work needed to accomplish the tasks due on those dates. I also suggest making all due dates on your calendar sooner than the actual due date on a syllabus.

What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates?

As a principal, I have been in that position. I always looked at social media to see if something came up on the candidate that would give me concern. I looked at transcripts for quality academics. It was okay to see poor grades early in the academic career, but I would be concerned with poor grades later in the career. I was also concerned if I saw several withdrawals from classes. I looked to see what activities the candidate was involved in and it was a positive thing if I saw the individual was a leader in the activity. I looked for appropriate references who could give me professional opinions. The types of activities the candidate was involved in gave me evidence of love and care for others, the grades gave me an indication of work ethic and intelligence, and both of them combined gave me evidence of someone who could manage their time well.