Former Lincoln Southeast coach and athletic director Wally McNaught died Wednesday night in hospice care after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 81.

McNaught was named to the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame and also was recently honored by Lincoln Southeast’s Hall of Fame.

The longtime basketball coach was born in Polk and served in Korea during his time in the Army.

He is survived by his wife JoAnn, daughter Linda (Major), brother Bill, sons Pat and Tom, nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Services are pending.

McNaught, who coached basketball for 36 years, was named the 1980 Ralph Beechner KFOR Coach of the Year and coached the Nebraska Basketball Development team in 1982. He was inducted into the Nebraska Wesleyan Hall of Fame in 1979. Both Wally and JoAnn are NWU grads. McNaught coached at Crete, Harvard and Omaha Bryan high schools.

He left coaching in 1985 to become athletic director at LSE and later worked with the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame.

While a coach at Southeast, he was known as a part of the legendary foursome of city basketball coaches including Paul Forch of Lincoln East, Aldie Johnson of Lincoln High and Ed Johnson of Lincoln Northeast.

In a December 2012 interview with the Journal Star, McNaught and his wife talked about his dealing with Parkinson’s and his treatments. He joked about how Forch had called his team’s style to control the tempo “Wallyball.”

“It drove (Forch) crazy, but that’s the way I thought we had a best chance to win,” McNaught said at the time.

He added, “There’s a perspective beyond winning that helps me over the rough spots. There are doubts and discouragement that go with the territory. But tomorrow you wake up and it’s a new day and you gain more perspective on how appreciative you should be in having as good a job as teaching and coaching.”

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7313 or


Ken grew up in Chicago and is a Doane College grad. His Mr. Sportsknowitall column appears Sundays, and he covers a variety of beats.

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