McNary honors Hall of Famers

Former McNary great Shawn Kintner (middle) receives his Hall of Fame hardware from principal Erik Jespersen (right) and athletic director Scott Gragg (left). Kintner graudated in 1998 and is one of the most decorated McNary athletes of all time (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).  

In the first time in nearly a decade, McNary High School made some additions to their athletic Hall of Fame.

Mike Doherty, Lisa Blush, Shawn Kintner and the 2009 state championship baseball team were the most recent inductees into the hall of fame in a ceremony that took place at the Keizer Civic Center on Friday, March 15. 

Hundreds of former athletes, coaches, parents and community members were in attendance to recognize the athletic achievements of these individuals.

It took more than five months to plan, but at the end of the day, the event ended up being a huge success.

“It was a labor of love, but honestly, that is why we do it,” McNary principal Erik Jespersen said. “Yes, we’re honoring former athletes, but we’re also bringing the community together. There a bunch of people here that weren’t a coach, teacher or employee, they just care about Keizer, and that’s is why they’re here celebrating tonight.”

The first honoree of the evening was Doherty, who was the boys basketball coach at McNary from 1965 to 1969

Doherty was the first basketball coach at McNary and led the Celtics to the state championship in 1968 — which was the school’s first state title of any kind. 

Mike Doherty (right) shakes hands with McNary principal Erik Jespersen after his induction into the Hall of Fame (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

“That team played a huge role in putting McNary on the map,” Doherty said. “It was fun to come home to a big reception. I’ll never forget that.”

He left McNary with a 57-40 record in 1969 and continued his coaching career at Reynolds, Corvallis, Baker, Hermiston, Oregon City, Scappoose and Newberg before retiring in 2012 after 54 years of coaching. 

His teams won 21 league titles and appeared in 25 state tournaments. Doherty also won two state titles at Corvallis (1980, 1984). With a career record of 850 wins and 390 losses, Doherty has the highest win total of any coach in any sport in Oregon history. 

Over the course of his coaching career, Doherty has been awarded Oregon Coach of the Year three times and National Coach of the Year once. He is a member of the Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame as well as the National Coaches Hall of Fame.

Even though it’s been 50 years since he coached at McNary, Doherty still provides a scholarship to a Celtic student-athlete every year. He also keeps in touch with his players from his championship team at McNary — many of which were attendance to see their former coach honored.

“They’re all some of my best friends now,” Doherty said of his former players. “It’s just been great to have those roots that started at McNary High School.”

Blush was the second athlete of the evening to receive recognition. Blush was a star athlete at McNary from 1982 to 1986 and earned varsity letters in volleyball, soccer, basketball and track & field. She was a team captain for the basketball and soccer teams.

She placed in five different events at the 1986 Valley League Track & Field Championships and set the McNary school record in the high jump (5-feet-5 inches).

Blush received all-league honors in soccer and basketball and was the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1986 — as well as the McNary Girl Athlete of the Year. 

Blush was a part of the 1986 McNary girls basketball team that qualified for the state playoffs for the first time in school history. 

Blush now lives in Europe, but made the trip across the world to be in attendance.

Lisa Blush receives her plaque at the McNary Hall of Fame Banquet. Blush graduated from McNary in 1986 and lettered in four sports (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

“I really wanted to be here. It’s really emotional for me to revisit that time in pictures and old articles and realize how supported we were as kids,” Blush said. “The whole community supported us. It was amazing.”

Kintner was the final individual athlete that was honored. Kintner was a standout football and basketball player for the Celtics from 1994 to 1998 and ended his career as one of the most decorated athletes in McNary history. 

Kintner was a first-team all-league receiver and safety in 1996 and 1997 and was the Offensive Player of the Year in the Valley League. Kintner also received first-team all-state honors at both positions and played a pivotal role in McNary’s first football state championship in 1997.

On the basketball floor, Kintner was just as dominant, earning first-team all-league honors in 1997 and 1998. Additionally, he was named to the first-team all-state squad in 1998. 

Kintner was the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Athlete of the Week multiple times, as well as the Senior Athlete of the Year. He also was the KATU Oregon State Athlete of the Year in 1998.

After his career at McNary, Kintner played receiver at Oregon State University from 1998-2002. He ended his career with the Beavers with 47 catches for 627 yards and six touchdowns.

“It’s nostalgic. I’ve visited with a ton of people here that I haven’t seen in a very long time,” Kintner said. “I don’t remember a lot of particular games. It all happens in a blur. But what I do remember are the people. I could tell you a million different stories about a bunch of different people in this room. I remember the people and the experiences more than anything.”

McNary’s 2009 state championship baseball team was the last honoree of the evening. Their team roster included Sheldon Austria, Jake Burgess, Justin Burgess, Sean Curry, Taylor Jones, Jordan Keeker, Brian Kottek, Zach Moeller, Alex Oesterblad, Zack Olpet, Austin Owings, Nick Phillips, Taylor Shepard, Scott Stoddard, Spencer Tejedas, Garrett Van Cleave, Jared Van Cleave and Jackson Wilde.

After reaching the postseason, the Celtics — led by 2009 Oregon Coach of the Year Craig Nicholson — easily won their first two playoff games. McNary defeated Tualatin 12-8 in the quarterfinals and then beat Tualatin 5-4 in the semis to reach the title game, where they would face off against Roseburg.

A dominant seven-inning pitching performance from Moeller allowed the Celtics to defeat Roseburg 5-1 to claim the state crown. 

“It’s all about family. Keizer is just a big family. The community supports their players so well. We were just a byproduct of that,” Garrett Van Cleave said. “This team was a brotherhood. We were willing to run through a brick wall for one another and that bond couldn’t be broken.”

Members of the 2009 McNary baseball team gather to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their state championship (Submitted/Justin Mikkelsen).

McNary is expected to make more frequent hall of fame inductions in the coming years and has another ceremony scheduled in October.

“We have a lot of great teams, great athletes and great coaches who haven’t been honored yet that need to get honored,” Jesperesen said.