Harmonizing home life, basketball not an issue for the Flatterys
There were days when Mackenzie Flattery, now a sophomore at Fairfield High School, would need a baby chair to help her dad scout teams.
These scouting trips would take place when he coached boys’ basketball. He would take her during days where she might potentially face the wrong direction and use a coloring book to pass the time. Then came the days where she would help draw up plays. Once she was old enough, it didn’t take long for her to create her own opinions about what her dad’s teams should do.
“She isn’t afraid to give advice,” her father Mick Flattery said.
Mick is now the girls’ basketball coach for Fairfield. Mackenzie is a starting guard. They do their best to keep their coach/player relationship in the gym and their father/daughter relationship at home. It’s fair to say Mackenzie was born into the game, and she certainly hasn’t grown tired of it yet.
“Basketball still is one of my favorite things to do,” Mackenzie said. “I’ve just lived around the sport and I’ve watched it since I was younger.”
Her older sister Meredith, who is now a senior at Wartburg College, also played basketball, which only assisted in Mackenzie’s indoctrination to the sport. Mick and his wife Sarah have now been married 25 years, and coaching has played a huge part of it all.
“Mick would take them to the gym for practices,” Sarah said. “The boys he coached were like big brothers to the girls.”
Mick has been asked, since basketball has played such a large part in his life, if he regrets one of his children not being a boy.
“Not at all, for 19 to 20 some odd years I had a team and those were my boys every year,” Mick said. “All my wife and I ever wanted were healthy kids. We had plenty of boys in our lives as well.”
Mick took three of his boys’ teams at Fairfield to the state tournament during his tenure. When he had the opportunity to take the girls’ job three years ago, Mackenzie and the rest of the family was behind him. The fact that he would be coaching his daughter was a bonus.
“He treats everyone the same way,” Mackenzie said. “Some people may think he takes it easier on me, but actually it’s just the opposite.”
Mackenzie knows she’s in good hands when her father is on the sideline, but she also knows she’ll be treated like everyone else. Mick coached her in youth leagues and summer camp, so she knows his style very well.
Mick stresses to his players that the hardest workers will be rewarded. In his eyes, Mackenzie is not any different while they’re on the court.
“I’ll be the first one to high five her and I’ll be the first to tell her something she needs to hear,” Mick said.
The hard thing could be keeping the coaching aspect of the relationship at the court and not bringing it home. Mick enjoys the fact that he gets to coach his daughter immensely, but he doesn’t want to overdo it. Sarah keeps everyone in check.
“I think they leave it on the court,” Sarah said. “He doesn’t wear it on his sleeve. There’s a separation where he knows he’s a dad, too.”
Scouting is a little different now. Sometimes a long trip is not needed. Mick can watch tape at home and put in headphones to not disturb family members. Even though she is still willing to help, Mackenzie has other things to do, as teenagers often do.
“Probably not everybody could handle it, but Mackenzie has done well,” Sarah said. “She believes in what [Mick’s] doing.”