Ron Hecklinski recalls his coaching career after coaching retirement at Mishawaka High School
Mishawaka, Ind. -- Ron Hecklinski retired from coaching the Mishawaka Cavemen this year and put a cap on his coaching career.
He coached LeBron James and Chris Paul in the mcdonald’s all-star game in two-thousand and three and coached high school and college basketball leading ball state and illinois state to nit and ncaa tournament games.
“I played for a great high school coach Bob Donewald who went on to have great college success,” Hecklinski tells ABC57.
Bob Donewald was Hecklinski’s coach when he played for South Bend St. Joe, but he would also be his fellow coach at Illinois State.
“My high school coach Bob Donewald was the head coach at Illinois State and I joined as an assistant,” said Hecklinski.
He would be his inspiration after leading high schools like Wapahani, Jasper then he got the chance to move up to Illinois State, but the pride of his career was coach LeBron James and Chris Paul in the two-thousand three McDonald’s all-American game.
He was invited to do it after meeting Morgan Wooten who was the coach of Dematha high school who lead the nation almost every year.
“He is the all-time winningest high school coach and Morgan Wooten had a liver transplant one month before I did,” Hecklinski said.
When finding this out Hecklinski would be in contact with Wooten to talk about his next steps in recovery.
Hecklinski was coaching Anderson high school who was one of the best high school basketball programs in Indiana.
They both had an idea and played each other to raise money for organ transplants.
“Anderson played DeMatha in a game in Washington DC at the Wizards Stadium and the game was for making money for organ donation awareness,” Hecklinski recalls.
After that game they kept a good relationship and Wooten asked if Hecklinski wanted to coach in the McDonald’s All- American game and he chose a stacked team.
“With Lebron James with Chris Paul with Charlie Villanueva with these great high school players,” said Hecklinski.
Knowing that all of his friends and family will be watching he calls LeBron into his office.
“I said Lebron come here for a sec. He comes in and I say Lebron we can’t lose this game tomorrow. Lebron looks at me and he winks and says coach you ain’t losin don’t worry about it. I said good, now Lebron sign all this stuff for me,” Hecklinski laughs after telling the story.