Rick’s Sports Corner: Alli McKain, Burbank’s sports director, hardworking, caring

Rick’s Sports Corner: Alli McKain, Burbank’s sports director, hardworking, caring

By Rick Assad

Alli McKain’s path from athlete to athletic director at Burbank High four years ago was inevitable.

“Growing up, my dad (Joe) was a coach. He coached basketball, baseball and football. He was known in the community for his intensity and obsession with sports,” said the South Carolinian native. “I grew up on the sidelines and always had a ball at my feet or in my hand. There was no cable TV in our household, but we had a bookshelf full of coaching books. I started reading my dad’s coaching books when I was six, and that’s when my mom (Cindy) and dad knew I was going to be a coach.”

McKain, who has been in Burbank for five years and also teaches physical education, continued, “I was always very athletic and loved playing sports. I taught my childhood friends how to skateboard,” she said. “At fifteen, I developed and ran a swim program for at-risk children at the YMCA. At sixteen, I was hired as an assistant coach for a girls’ youth soccer team and also worked as a soccer official at the YMCA. I didn’t do particularly well in school, admittedly I wasn’t very studious, but I was born to be an athletic director. I live for it!”

McKain, who earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Lander University in South Carolina and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Lesley University in Massachusetts, added: “Athletics is my passion and I love being an athletic director,” she admitted. “I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love where I am … doing what I love.”

The job is not easy, but it is worth it.

“The biggest challenge of being an athletic director is the many things that come with scheduling. To make sure everything runs smoothly, I am available to our coaching staff 24/7, including holidays, and I work most weekends,” McKain said. “I have long hours, but I love my job. I don’t have kids, so I can prioritize the athletic director position.”

Burbank athletic director Alli McKain (front) is with the Burbank boys tennis team. (Photo courtesy of Alli McKain)

McKain, who typically starts her workday at 8 a.m. and finishes at 9 p.m., added, “I am grateful to have an incredible team of administrators that I work closely with on a daily basis and who truly believe in the value of athletics and the sense of community it creates on our campus,” she said.

McKain is both friendly and extremely helpful and is present at numerous games or matches in Burbank.

“I attend every home game I can. I work with our opponents a week before the game to manage the logistical aspects of game times, scheduling referees, buses, the announcer, the scoreboard operator, the timekeeper, and facility setup (sound system, tickets, field/court setup, lighting),” she said. “I also make sure the competitions run smoothly and that fans, parents, players, coaches and referees are supported. We want Burbank High games to be an enjoyable experience for everyone.”

McKain did her job exceptionally well and there are reasons why she was so successful.

“I have always been naturally motivated and very competitive and have had an exceptional work ethic. I am capable of working long hours and have the determination to do my best no matter the situation,” she said. “I have a very positive relationship with all of the coaches at Burbank. If a problem arises, they know they can call me immediately and without judgement. We will work through it together. I have a lot of respect for our coaching staff.”

They adopted this attitude and philosophy from their parents.

“I played elite sport overseas, including rugby,” McKain explained. “My dad always told me, ‘There will always be someone better than you, but no one should work harder than you.’ That will stay with me my whole life.”

Alli McKain played rugby overseas and always loved the sport, especially because her father Joe was a highly respected coach in South Carolina. (Photo courtesy of Ally McKain)

The athletes are always featured and remain essentially the same, regardless of time and era.

“I think there are more similarities than differences. Sports teach values ​​and build character,” McKain admitted. “Every student-athlete has a story. Knowing their story helps you unlock their unique potential.”

If she has any time to relax, it’s rare, but when McKain does, she knows what she’s doing.

“I own a sports business that includes a summer sports camp and training youth sports teams,” she said. “Although my position as athletic director at Burbank High School is my priority, training youth sports teams provides a balance.”

In every area, it is important to fulfill one’s potential and leading the sports department fulfills exactly that for McKain.

“In my experience, I have witnessed how high school sports have changed students’ lives,” she said. “I have found that through my leadership role in sports, I can help break down barriers and model the qualities of growth, determination, teamwork and more.”

McKain continued, “With ample support, specific feedback and individualized instruction, student-athletes overcome challenges and demonstrate resilience and success,” she said. “Every practice is designed to prepare athletes for the big game. Sometimes that big game is a football showdown, a basketball game, a tennis match, a swim relay or a baseball tournament, and sometimes that big game is life.”

That’s a lot of truth to think about.