Medal of Honor recipient also a beloved high school coach
A big part of Medal of Honor recipient Jim McCloughan's love for community lies in high school sports. He spent about four decades coaching several sports at South Haven High School.
“People know Coach McCloughan as a winner. And he is a local legend," Cunningham said.
38 years spent coaching football and baseball. 22 years coaching wrestling.
McCloughan’s storied tenure at South Haven High School draws strong comparisons to his heroism in Vietnam.
“What he is, is he’s a selfless guy who gives you everything that he has," Cunningham said.
Coach McCloughan transformed Cunningham's 0-and-9 freshmen football team into a 9-and-0 powerhouse his sophomore year.
One of South Haven’s only undefeated football seasons.
“He taught you to not quit, to not surrender. Never retreat," Cunningham said.
Cunningham says McCloughan used his time in the military as motivation for his players.
A fiery coach who’s ‘charismatic’ and ‘teaches you how to win.’
He gave Cunningham a game ball from that 1989 perfect season when Cunningham came back to South Haven to be McCloughan's assistant coach.
While the battlefield transformed into a football field after Vietnam Cunningham says coach’s passion never changed.
That’s why the Medal of Honor news didn’t shock him one bit.
“Not surprised. This is what he does. This is who he is. Everything he’s touched, he brings about a change," Cunningham said.
Cunningham eventually took over as head coach of South Haven’s football team for three years after McCloughan retired in 2008.
When asked about that undefeated season from 1989, McCloughan's face lit up and he immediately started telling stories of the plays he ran in one of their biggest games that year.