Joy Kirkland Becker (Coach): Trailblazer … the one word to describe Coach Joy Kirkland Becker’s years at Maclay School. Just as the FHSAA was establishing a girls championships at the state level, Coach Becker took the helm of the Lady Marauders who quickly made a name for themselves as a powerhouse program.
Becker brought a new philosophy in girls’ athletics, not just at Maclay, but across the county. She started conditioning programs, practices every day after school, and even on some Saturdays which was not a common occurrence for girls sports teams in the ‘70’s. She set up a tough and challenging schedule for her first squad. The 1975 volleyball schedule not only included schools the size of Maclay, but also a mixture of robust Class 2A, 3A, and 4A competition. And the hard work paid off. The team advanced to the first ever State Championship hosted in Howie-in-the-Hills and there took out undefeated Miami Christian and later St. Edwards of Vero Beach for the first state title for a Maclay team. Coach Becker and six of the volleyball players transitioned directly into basketball. After an up and down season, the team rebounded after Christmas break and began a march to the State Championship where they defeated Shorecrest and Trenton to take an unprecedented second state title for Maclay in a matter of months. Joy went on to coach the 1978 championship basketball team making a total of three titles during her five year career at Maclay.
In July of 1980, Joy left Maclay to enter the college ranks as an assistant for Florida State’s volleyball team under Cecile Reynaud. Two years later, she took over the volleyball program at Florida High where she coached and taught for 14 years. During that time she established the Big Bend Juniors Volleyball program which introduced club volleyball to the region. In 1996, Joy began teaching PE and coaching volleyball at Leon High School, and for the next 16 years she enjoyed success including taking the Lions to four state tournament appearances, earning two Runner-Up titles. In 2012, Joy Becker became the first ever woman Athletic Director ever to be named in a Leon County School, by accepting the position at Godby High School, where she remains today. In 2001, Coach Becker was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Florida Coaches.
During her time at Maclay, Joy married her husband of 39 years, Bob. Cari was born in ’79 and Jill followed in ’84. Both girls had more “aunts” than any other kids in Florida. Both played volleyball - Jill at Leon and Cari at Maclay where she was a member of the ’95 and ’96 teams that won State Titles for Maclay (coached by 2014 Hall of Famer Les Lundberg.) Joy is currently loving her newest title as “Nana”, spending time with 3 granddaughters, and looking forward to a grandson who will be here in November. Joy looks at her time at Maclay as the beginning of a terrifically rewarding and successful career - 5 years that she would not trade for the world!
Sherrie has been in Real Estate for 33 years and is a licensed Broker. She has been a member of FSU Woman's - Committee of 30, a member of Maclay's Alumni Board twice, served on the Tallahassee Board of Realtor's Strategic Planning Committee and is currently serving on The Parkinson's Outreach Association Board of Directors - as the Fundraising Chair. She was a member of The Tallahassee Jaycees and the 100th member of the Young Republicans. She is a member of Celebration Baptist Church.
Alesha Irvin (1999) Multi-Sport: Alesha Irvin was an outstanding prep athlete at Maclay from 1996-1999. Over her high school career, she earned 17 varsity letters: four in track, four in cross-country, three in softball, and six in soccer. Alesha was a major contributor to boosting the cross-country and track programs to state-wide prominence. She ran on the first, second, and third Maclay girls' state championship cross-country teams in 1997-1999 as well as the 1998 and 1999 state track teams, scoring points in the open 400, 4x100 and 4x400. Her solid performances helped Maclay bring home multiple state championship trophies. She was a member of the 4x400 team that set a school record that held for 14 years, one of the longest-standing records at Maclay. In addition to her state championship participation in cross-country and track, Alesha also helped the Maclay soccer team defeat American Heritage in overtime to win a state title in 1998 making her the only athlete to compete on three state championship teams in one year. Coach Gary Droze says, “Beyond the stats, Alesha stands out as the gold standard for multi-sport athletes at Maclay, moreover, her consistently positive outlook and relentless courage in races spilled over to her teammates, making the whole squad better simply through her presence.” Upon graduation, Alesha went to play soccer for the next four years at the University of Richmond making it all the way to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament in 2002.
1998 Girls Varsity Soccer Team: The goal of the 1997-98 soccer team was to reach the Final Four. Once this goal was achieved, the team only had one thought, to win it, which they did on a hot day in March 1998. The strength of the team was their depth in talent, both in defense and attack, which enabled the coaching staff to change their system of play as needed. The team was physical in midfield, strong at the back, and possessed unmatched speed down the flanks. Maclay's varsity team was coached by Neil Sheppard, Roy McCrohan (Deceased), and John Burleigh (Deceased). Parker Campbell was the ever helpful team manager and Willie Moore was the cheerleading bus driver who made the out of town trips both safe and pleasant. The entire Maclay soccer program involved 73 girls playing varsity and junior varsity as well as two middle school teams coached by Philip Sandon and Shirley Campbell. The final record of the varsity team was 28 wins, no defeats and one tie -- scoring 184 goals and conceding 10. They finished ranked 10th by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Players: Holly Palmer, Betsy Copeland, Katie Coburn, Jenny Meale, Molly Garvin, Brianne Jablon, Alesha Irvin, Sara Dunlap, Anna Daly, Marion Cagle, Lauren Sapolsky, Hester Cowles, Tracy Town, Ashley Waldoch, Laura Coburn, Corrine Mixon, Melissa Montgomery, Alexis Newell, Caroline Pitt, and Meghan Edmond.