August | Blue KC Coaches with Character
Kelly Donohoe, Football Coach
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and the “C” You in the Major Leagues Foundation (CYITML) have announced Blue Springs High School football coach Kelly Donohoe as the August Blue Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree.
In his 19 seasons at BSHS, Donohoe has taken the Wildcats to seven state championship games, winning four. He also has earned individual honors including the Schutt Sports High School Coach of the Year award in 2003 and an induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year.
“I’ve learned over the years that the best way to lead is to serve others,” said Royals Vice-President/General Manager and CYITML Founder/Executive Director Dayton Moore. “Obviously Coach Donohoe’s teams have been extremely good on the field, but what made him stand out are the things he’s doing off the field to help his players be better sons and, one day, husbands and fathers, by giving them tools through weekly character-building sessions and then taking them into the community to serve the homeless.”
After quarterbacking the Kansas Jayhawks from 1986 to 1989, Donohoe entered the teaching and coaching field, landing his first head coaching position at Raytown South High School in 1997 and then accepting the same role at Blue Springs High School in 2000.
“Coach Donohoe has built an incredible reputation in the Kansas City area,” said Christina Lively, Department Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Blue KC. “His efforts to impact his players both on and off the field as well as his personal example of courage and dedication have laid the foundation for a powerful legacy in our community. We’re proud to recognize him as a Blue KC Coach with Character.”
While working to help his players perform at the highest level possible, however, Donohoe also places a high priority on building character into both his players and his coaches.
“I want them to learn to be accountable, be a great teammate, be unselfish and put others first,” said Donohoe, who also earned Missouri Class 6A Coach of the Year honors this past season. “The most rewarding thing about coaching is seeing young men grow and develop and work hard for a common cause.”
For the past 12 years, Donohoe has taken players every month to the Micah Ministry—an outreach to the impoverished in Kansas City—during the offseason to allow the athletes to learn the art of giving back. Ten years ago, his assistant coaches began taking incoming seniors on international service trips during the summers to build homes for people living in poverty—trips that Donohoe has taken to serve as a leader. For his coaches, Donohoe hosts weekly character-building sessions in which the group powers through what they call their Winner’s Manual.
“Coach Donohoe is the epitome of what the Blue KC Coaches with Character program stands for,” said Blue Springs assistant coach Matt Marble, who nominated Donohoe for the honor after receiving it himself in 2018. “Throughout his career he has impacted players the right way. In our football program he puts an extremely high emphasis on character and then backs it up with his own life.”
Last fall, Donohoe demonstrated his personal character even further after he was diagnosed with cancer and continued to coach despite undergoing chemotherapy.
“I knew my cancer type was very treatable, so I just had to stay positive about it and press on,” said Donohoe, who is in remission after successful treatment. “We talk with players daily about fighting through adversity. That was my opportunity to walk the walk.”
“People usually talk about his seven state title appearances in his 19 years at BSHS, but his character is what truly sets him apart,” added Marble. “He cares about his players and coaches beyond X’s and O’s and wins and losses. He pushes those around him to excel on the field and also to be better men. He is truly a coach with character.”
In addition to the game-day benefits, each Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree also will be interviewed on 610 Sports Radio, receive a VIP gift package from Blue KC and CYITML and will be invited to meet Dayton Moore at an event in September at Kauffman Stadium. Additionally, Blue KC will make a $2,000 donation to CYITML in honor of each honoree.
To nominate an amateur coach from the KC area for Blue KC Coaches with Character are encouraged to visit CYouInTheMajorLeagues.org/bluekc.