The 500 Club: Conway reaches milestone as Lady Jays roll to win
JEFFERSON CITY --- As the buzzer sounded Wednesday night, the win was secured --- not that the outcome was ever in doubt --- and the milestone was reached for Brad Conway.
Was this a moment of a reflection or just the latest step in this season's journey?
"I think it's a little bit of both;. I just never dreamed that I would be in this position," said Conway, who earned his 500th career win as the Jefferson City Lady Jays thumped Sedalia Smith Cotton 60-22 at Fleming Fieldhouse. "There will be some reflection, but there's also, 'Hey, it's time to get ready for the next one.' There are still a lot of things we want to get accomplished this year.
"To me, it just means I've been doing it for a long time, and I've been fortunate to coach some good teams and some good players."
As is the case with most good coaches, Conway doesn't care much about individual glory. Still, his 28-year record of 500-239 should certainly be a source of pride.
As the current president of the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association and a member of the Hall of Fame committee, Conway has his pulse on the records of coaches around the state.
With that in mind, and in this moment of reflection, Conway softened his stance a bit.
"There aren't a lot of coaches who have over 500 wins, like 83 or 84," said Conway, who's in his fourth year with the Lady Jays. "And there have been a lot of coaches in Missouri the past 50 or 60 years (as in thousands). So just being in that group is an honor and a blessing."
Conway's first win came at Albany High School in Northwest Missouri in 1990. He doesn't remember who Albany played, let alone the score.
"All I remember is that we'd already lost seven in a row," he said, "so it felt good to get that monkey off your back and get that first win."
Conway, 52, is a 1984 graduate of St. James High School. Most of his success came at his alma mater, as he compiled a mark of 299-97 in 14 seasons, with three Final Four appearances.
"It was home and we had some really teams there," Conway said, "but this is home now, this is where my wife and I are going to retire. We love the community, I love the school and I love what we've been able to do here, and what's in store."
The Lady Jays were a struggling program, going 29-51 in the three seasons before Conway arrived in 2015.
How about this since --- 22-5, 20-7, 25-4 and this season, 9-0. A combined 76-16.
Doing a quick check of the math, 76-16 is a lot better than 29-51.
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