In the end, the call to come back home was too strong.
Southern Wayne head coach Ronnie McClary Jr. is leaving Dudley is to become the new head football coach at Goldsboro High School.
McClary is taking over for Timothy Ray, who left Goldsboro earlier this month to become the head football coach at Red Springs High School.
He informed the Southern Wayne players Monday morning, and he spoke with the Goldsboro players Monday afternoon.
“It means a lot to know that I walked the same halls,” McClary said. “Not only I did, but my parents, siblings and a lot of family members did as well. Then to know that I coached here for a couple of years and now to come back as the head coach is something special.”
Born and raised in Goldsboro, McClary played football at Goldsboro High School. After graduating from Goldsboro in 2003, McClary attended Elizabeth City State University.
McClary then decided to come back to Wayne County. He taught at Goldsboro for a few years before heading to Southern Wayne in 2012. At first, McClary only coached track, but in 2013 he became an assistant football coach.
He has spent the past five seasons as the Saints’ head football coach.
“Southern Wayne became a family. The atmosphere there with the new gym, football games, tailgating, the support from different areas, from your coworkers, and from the kids is special,” McClary said. “Just because I’m leaving doesn’t mean I won’t keep up with them or be their coach because I’ll always be their coach.
“It’s just more kids that you’re dealing with now.”
McClary expects to put together an unselfish, disciplined team that gives 100 percent every time it steps onto the gridiron. He says the group of players at Goldsboro is talented from top to bottom.
The potential is there to experience great success because for McClary, it’s not about the quantity of players on the team, but the quality of the product you put on the field and how it produces in the classroom.
McClary also wants to make sure the student-athletes always have Cougar Pride.
“Cougar Pride is something that you feel, and that feeling goes way beyond just the name on a chest, or a G on a helmet, or getting up and saying ‘one, two, three Cougar Pride,’ but when you say it and mean it, you’ll feel something that almost electric,” McClary said.
“To know that it’s in the stands, the gym, the baseball and softball fields, everywhere, it’s just electric.”
McClary will spend the rest of the semester going back and forth between Goldsboro and Southern Wayne. He will make the move to full-time Goldsboro at the end of the school year.
“I’ll be teaching at Southern Wayne and doing spring track there. We’ll put together a staff, once they get vetted and the paperwork, that will work with the guys at Goldsboro,” McClary said.
Goldsboro went 4-7 last season and advanced to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A playoffs.
The Cougars won their last conference crown in 2012 and have not reached the regional championship round since 2003. Mcclary has a burning desire to see Goldsboro reach those heights again.
“The last time we got to the regional championship was in 2003, and that was my senior year,” McClary said. “To win the county is very important. Then win to win the conference and put yourself in position to have a chance to host playoff games and win a state championship.”