Jun. 5—Mickey Heatherly, long time high school football coach and official, died on Friday.
He was 82.
Heatherly, a native of Picher, Oklahoma, played football at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and Pittsburg State.
He began his coaching career in 1960 as an assistant at Carthage. After three seasons, he left Carthage and started the football program at Anderson and was the coach at Anderson for three years and McDonald County one year. He then crossed the state line and coached six years at Baxter Springs and one year at Riverton before coming back into Missouri as an assistant at Joplin Parkwood.
He was the defensive coordinator for the Bears under Dewey Combs for 11 years before becoming the head coach at crosstown rival Memorial in 1983 and 1984. He returned as Combs’ defensive coordinator in 1985 when Parkwood and Memorial consolidated in 1985, and he was named the Joplin head coach in 1986 after Combs retired.
Heatherly coached the Eagles for 10 seasons, compiling a 55-43 record and 36-16 mark in Ozark Conference games. The Eagles won or shared three Ozark Conference titles under Heatherly and made two postseason appearances.
Heatherly also spent almost 50 years as a basketball official, mostly high school games but some men’s and women’s college games. He also was an official in football, baseball and softball before suffering an injury while officiating a football game that forced him to call it a career.
He officiated three championship games in football and was selected five times to work basketball state semifinal and final games.
He also served as the game assignor for the Joplin Basketball Officials Association.
“Dealing with kids keeps a person young,” Heatherly said during his induction into the Joplin Sports Authority Hall of Fame.
“He was a wonderful man who helped those around him become better,” official Kevin Rhinehart posted on Facebook. “I miss him already.”
“We lost a great friend, great coach, great official, and a mentor to all who knew him today,” official Jimmy Hogelin posted on Facebook. “Mickey Heatherly, you will be missed.”
“One of the best,” said Webb City football coach John Roderique.
Mickey and his wife Janice have two children, a son Greg and daughter Tracy.
Follow Sports Editor Jim Henry on Twitter at @Jim_Henry53.