By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal
Ron Jenkins has resigned as the head coach of the Muskegon Community College Lady Jayhawks basketball team.
Jenkins submitted his resignation on Friday, citing health reasons both for himself and his mother.
“Right now, I am dealing with a lot of health issues,” Jenkins said. “As well as my mom and dad, but especially my mom.”
Coach Jenkins has been dealing with the pain and discomfort of diverticulitis, which is inflammation and infection of the intestines. While surgery is something that Jenkins would prefer to avoid, he knows it may be coming at some point in the future.
But there’s also the issues with his mom, Sylinda, who has been spending a lot of time at the Cleveland Clinic with her health problems.
“She has had some setbacks,” Jenkins said. “I am not really sure how she is going to do here in the future, but I do know that God is definitely in control with my health and her health.
“I know it’s time for me to take some time and get myself better and to be with my mom as much as I can.”
Jenkins coached the Jayhawks seven years. Previously, he coached freshmen boys then jayvee boys and girls at Western Michigan Christian High School. Then it was the varsity girls at WMC. After the school seasons, it was summer basketball.
“For many years, that was my life,” Jenkins said. “Now I get a chance to focus on getting myself better and Little Ronald to make sure he gets to go and do what he wants to do.” Ronald, Jr. is a senior at Muskegon High School and a highly sought after recruit for college football.
And looking back at the last seven years as the head coach of the Lady Jayhawks brings pride to the voice of Jenkins.
“One of the greatest memories was going to nationals, competing at nationals and finishing 11th nationally,” Jenkins said. “That was definitely one of the greatest things.”
But in the next breath he cites the young ladies who came through the program, graduated and went on to a Division 2 or Division 3 college to continue their education and their basketball careers. One Jayhawk, Whitney Davis, went on to play Division 1.
“There are many things I have been blessed with,” said Jenkins, who also won four coach of the year honors at various levels from the Western Conference to the NJCAA national honor.
He also cites those who helped him along the way – Gene Gifford and Marty McDermott at Muskegon Community College and prior to that, Jim Goorman and Dorothy Gill-Jackson.
“These people have influenced my life in coaching,” said Jenkins, who did not rule out a return to coaching if his health allows. “This is what it’s all about.”
On Friday, Jenkins received an eye opener during lunch with his assistant coach Sandra Bush and MCC photographer Scott Stone.
“Usually with Fortune Cookies, I just let them go,” said Jenkins. “But they pushed one in front of me.”
It said: “Keep an eye open for an opportunity in the field of sports.”
“I said ‘wow,’’ said Jenkins. “I am keeping it in my wallet, this is so touching.
“I don’t know what God is doing and I don’t know what is in store, but whatever His plans, I am willing to follow,” Jenkins said. “That is the most important thing in this whole thing.
“This is so touching because God has something in store for me and I am going to wait it out and I will be back at it,” Jenkins said. “I want to do what’s right at the present time and I know God is in control.”