FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --It's the end of an era in Firebaugh as a familiar face in the gym plans to walk away. Friday night's basketball game was one for the record books and one the coach will never forget.
In every small town, there's one big game - the one that fills the stands.
For the Firebaugh High varsity basketball team, it was the final home game of a rough season against a tough rival.
"We've come a long way...you guys couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time when we started," Coach Jim McCall said to the team in the locker room.
Coach has a way of motivating his guys and it works. As soon as the clock started, he was on his feet, pacing and yelling. The same way he has since the first time he stepped on the court, 46 years ago.
Coach McCall's wife Gwynn said from the sideline, "when they made the box, he had to calm down so this is the calmed down version."
He's been here before - more than a thousand times.
"Like I tell my players, the only concern is, did you win or lose," Coach McCall said.
On this night, a win would mean everything because it was Coach McCall's last chance to do it at home, in the house that he built.
"The problem is gonna be after the game, cause this is it...so it's been tough the last couple days, knowing this is coming." He said.
It's the end of a long career. He's the only basketball coach Firebaugh High has ever had. He was raised on the East Coast but planted his roots here because the kids needed him.
"I grew up like 99.5 percent of these kids...I've walked in their shoes," Coach McCall added, "I've had offers at different schools but this is home."
Back on the court, it was Coach McCall who needed the kids. In the last quarter of the game, the score was 40 to 39 with the minutes ticking away.
The home team took the lead. There was a last minute save and three-point shot to seal the deal - a storybook ending in a small town and a final memory for Coach McCall at home, soaked in Gatorade.
"I''ll never forget this...never," he said.
Coach McCall is retiring after leading the school to four league championships and coaching more than a thousand games. He says basketball will always be in his heart and next year, he'll be cheering the team on from the sideline.