MARATHON COUPLE TO LAUNCH ‘KEYS WEEKLY SPORTS WRAP’ PODCAST

Sean McDonald, right, will helm a weekly podcast while Tracy McDonald will use her writing talent to compile the Keys Weekly Sports Wrap. CONTRIBUTED

Make way for a new – yet familiar – home for Keys sports.

New for the 2022-23 school year, Keys Weekly is proud to introduce the Keys Weekly Sports Wrap, a coordinated roundup of prep sports throughout Monroe County. With a two-page feature in each edition of the Keys Weekly newspapers, plus a podcast and web content, the weekly celebration of Monroe County athletes will blend interviews, game recaps, statistics, standings, athlete features, historical pieces and much more to become the only destination for comprehensive Keyswide prep sports coverage.

The project will be helmed by Marathon High School teachers Sean and Tracy McDonald. The pair bring more than 50 years of experience in Monroe County schools between them and have coached a variety of sports across all age groups up and down the Keys. Their three children – Jackson, Riley and Maverick – have all attended Keys schools and are active in athletics. 

After graduating from Florida State University with a degree in physical education, podcast host Sean moved just south of his hometown of Miami after landing a teaching position at Sugarloaf School. Though his main love has always been football, Sean has coached all ages in basketball, baseball and softball at Marathon High, Key West High and various youth programs. As he recalls, he first immersed himself in coaching to fill a community need.

“I was teaching these middle school classes full of great kids who were athletic and loved sports, but they couldn’t play anywhere,” he said. “Their parents couldn’t get them to practice every day in Key West or Marathon, so Tracy and I worked to make magnet teams for the Lower Keys kids. We practiced right after school so a lot of parents could just pick their kids up on the way home from work and they only had to drive on game days.”

With a gift for public speaking, Sean has been a co-host on US1 Radio’s Biz Baz and football broadcasts. Marathon High School relies on him as their go-to emcee for pep rallies, school events and live streams.  

Tracy moved to the Keys and met Sean at a new teacher orientation in August 1997 after graduating from Wilkes University, where she studied English and played field hockey. Writing for the Weekly comes as a natural fit for her, as both sports and writing have been big parts of her life.

“My father was a coach and athletic director, and my sister and I were expected to play a sport every season,” she said. “It was either play a sport or get a job, and the only jobs in rural Pennsylvania were not the sort of jobs I wanted to do.”

Throughout her career at Marathon High School, Tracy has coached cheerleading, track and soccer. In addition to enjoying long runs in the heat, she has a newfound affinity for technology after learning to edit photos and video footage in preparation for teaching tech classes at the high school. 

Look for the first Keys Weekly Sports Wrap podcast online at keysweekly.com before school begins, with an introductory teaser posted beforehand, and the first print feature in all editions of the Keys Weekly Newspapers soon to follow.

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Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.