“Dealing with kids keeps a person young, “ says Mickey Heatherly, educator, coach and sports official, who has been dealing with kids most of his adult life.
A native of Picher, Oklahoma, where he was born in 1938 to Carl and Helen Heatherly, Mickey has been teaching and coaching since 1959 when he was hired as an assistant football coach at Carthage High School. Mickey and Gary Watts were assistants to head coach Dennis Griffin.
After a three year stint at Carthage, Mickey moved to Anderson, Missouri, and started a football program at what is now McDonald County High School. He was head coach of the Mustangs from 1962 through 1966.
Mickey then moved to Baxter Springs for a six-year tour of duty as head coach of the Lions. He then spent one year coaching at Riverton before joining the Joplin Parkwood staff of Dewey Combs in 1972.
He took over the head coaching duties at Joplin Memorial High School in 1993 and 1994 before the Joplin Schools consolidated. He then assisted Combs for one year at Joplin High School before taking over the leadership of the Joplin program in 1996.
Mickey retired as a full-time coach and educator after the 1998-99 school year, hopefully to devote more time to his hobbies of fishing and hunting.
Since leaving the high school coaching ranks, Mickey was a volunteer assistant coach at Missouri Southern State University.
Mickey remains active at high school sports events throughout the area, serving as a referee in football and basketball and as an umpire in baseball and softball.
Mickey has won or played for three state championships in football. As a player at Picher High School, the Gorillas lost to Lindsay 14-0 in the Oklahoma Class B state championship game. As an assistant at Parkwood, he helped the Bears win state titles in 1975 and 1980. He’s also been the referee in three state football championship games and has worked five state tournaments in basketball.
Mickey is married and he and the former Janice Moore have two children, a son Greg, and a daughter Tracy.
He comes from a large family with six siblings: Larry, Carlene, Richard, Dennis, Linden, and Chuck.
Mickey is a graduate of Picher High School, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, and Kansas State Teachers College, now Pittsburg State University.