Argo High School varsity girls head basketball coach Dan McCarthy with 300th win game ball (Supplied photo)
Argo’s Coach McCarthy scores 300th win
By Carol McGowan
Argo High School head girls varsity basketball coach, Dan McCarthy, has done something not many others can claim. During this last season, he had his 300th win as a coach.
If you’ve ever been to a game at Argo, where McCarthy was coaching, you would notice his calm demeanor on the floor. He watches every move, but never loses his cool.
During time outs, he’s encouraging his team, and always giving them a hand clap for a job well done.
His 300th win happened toward the end of this past season, on January 31. He doesn’t take all the credit, and says hard work is key.
“Getting to 300 means I’ve been around a while, and along the way, I have had some success. There’s also some validation that the years of hard work did pay off. Sometimes, hard work doesn’t necessarily guarantee desired results in the short term. That was certainly the case for me, as it took a lot of years to get the ship moving in the right direction. It’s also validation for the people in my inner circle who also deserve credit for the milestone-my valued and longtime assistant Mike Richler, and my local Junior Argonaut coaches who have developed our young players-John Wiseman, John Miller, and Armando Gamboa.”
McCarthy has been coaching at Argo for 18 years, and is also the department chair for Pupil Personnel Services.
If you ask anyone, be it a player, former player, parent, or co-worker, there’s no denying the respect they have for Coach McCarthy.
It’s a job he works hard at, and says it’s an ongoing process.
“It’s many factors, such as being the hardest worker in the program, setting the highest priorities in building relationships with players, evaluating the program annually, investing in the community, and always looking to improve my coaching, whether that’s X’s and O’s or adapting to the changing trends of society,” he says.
Argo girls basketball has had many award-winning seasons with McCarthy as head coach. They’ve won 13 conference championships combined among all three levels. Five for varsity, six for sophomore, and two for freshmen.
In addition to that, they have had one Regional title (2020), three varsity holiday tournament titles (two Thanksgiving, one Christmas), and a 42-game varsity conference winning streak (2017-2020).
Under McCarthy, Argo has sent 23 players to play college basketball, including Division I and II programs, and he has coached three IBCA All State Academic teams, and mentored two coaches who later became head coaches.
From 2015-2020, McCarthy had an impressive coaching record of 109-37.
There are many memorable experiences for McCarthy along the way.
“The Regional Championship a few years ago is #1,” he says. “Beyond the conference and tournament championships, that was the next step in the progression of the program. Around here, we are a 4A school that borders Chicago, so our road to a Regional Championship is difficult when you are seeing teams like Benet, Kenwood, Bogan, Simeon, Lyons, Fenwick, and St. Ignatius just to name a few. I see some 3A schools playing teams that don’t have a winning record in Regional Championships. For us, finally breaking through a few years ago was the ultimate validation. The seniors I had on that team wanted to win just as badly as me, which definitely distinguished them from other senior classes. I will never forget that senior group—Gaby Beggs, Gabby Lopez, Hailey Lyczak, Alexis Ross, Monster Tovar, and Jessica White.”
Hailey Lyczak, part of that team, won’t ever forget that win either.
“One of my favorite memories of high school basketball was winning our regional my senior year. Three years on varsity, we talked about it all the time and fell short both years. My senior year, we finally did it. It was such an accomplishment for the girls basketball program.”
Lyczak currently plays basketball for North Park University in Chicago.
McCarthy mentioned more memorable times.
“Number 2 would be winning the first conference championship in 2016. You never forget your first conference championship and I was especially happy for seniors Chely Arreola, Fatima Jaber, and Karolina Krzak. As Charles Dickens one wrote, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,’ and those players saw both sides of the fence. So, I was really happy that they finished as conference champions.”
“Number 3, would be coaching Chatori Tyler and Tadriana Heard. I have coached hundreds of players, but these two were on another level. Not sure if I will ever have a chance to coach two players with the elite talent that they possessed. They were instrumental in elevating this program to the next level.”
“Number 4, would be a 42-game conference winning streak. This covered four different seasons and with the exception of one or two games, we were never really threatened along the way. But we never took any opponent lightly and we prepared the same for every game regardless of who we were facing. And, we never talked about the streak because we were superstitious!”
As for what McCarthy would tell students from Argo’s feeder school that hope to play one day at Argo, “Stay active with the Junior Argonaut program. Our doors will be open year-round with opportunities to work on your fundamentals, especially your jump shot. The jump shot is like a golf swing, in that if you are taught the correct mechanics at a young age, you can spend years developing and refining your jump shot to perfection. Also, players that have a deep organized team background usually have no problem working their tails off here for four years-so play on your grade school basketball teams!”
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