2017 Black History Month Celebration

Michael Ray McGough - Athlete, Artist, Teacher, Trailblazer


Michael Ray McGough was born on February 26, 1952 in Fresno, California to Rufus and Mattie Lee McGough. He graduated from Edison High School in 1970. He excelled in track, wrestling, football and basketball. He also had a gift for drawing. McGough attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, majoring in English and Sociology. In 1972, he transferred to California State University, Fresno. In 1975, he became the first African American to be named Team Captain of the Fresno State Wrestling team. That same year, he was the NCAA Western Regional Champion in the 150lb weight class. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Art, with minors in English, Sociology, and Physical Education in 1976.

Teaching Career

McGough began his teaching career in 1976 with one summer session of art for Madera Unified. Clovis Unified School District hired him that same year and he became only the 3rd African American hired by the district. He was also the district's first African American art teacher. He taught ceramics at Clark Intermediate School for five years. He transferred to Clovis High School, and for the next thirty three years taught a full schedule of art, partial schedule of speech, and physical education.

McGough developed the first African American Student Union for Clovis High and CUSD. He also developed the first Black History Assembly in the district.

McGough retired from Clovis Unified School District in 2014.

Coaching Career

  • 1979 First African American to be hired as a Head Coach at any school in CUSD at Clark Intermediate for Football and Wrestling

  • 1991 First African American High School Varsity Girls Basketball Head Coach in CUSD

  • 1993 First win a League and Valley Championship for Varsity Girls Basketball in CUSD ( and to this date in the history of Clovis High to be the only coach in basketball for both boys and girls to win a Valley Championship)


In His Words

I was exposed to art at a very young age, at my mother's restaurant, which served as a modern day "day-care center" for me. To occupy my time I used my imagination as a tool for gaming as well as entertainment, there were no video games in those days. I would draw my thoughts and adventures on to tablets, used for creating orders for the customers. In my mind that became a perfect source for a sketch book and my comic books, including sound effects. With that type of creative time, it became a vacuum in which I emerged myself into sketching and coloring my thoughts and ideas.

My formal art training started when a customer informed my mother that there was a man that could give me private art lessons. My mother quickly enrolled me, followed with art lessons from the Fresno Art Museum. The next phase was four years of high school art continued into my first two years of collegiate education. There came a point where a major decision was made to switch majors from English and Sociology, to Art. This was also heavily factored because I wanted to teach and coach.

Another major contributing factor is my family history which is a very integrated racially, socially, ethnically, culturally, and spiritually. With such diversity in my family, it allows me to indulge all aspects of how the above factors weigh in on behavior, personality, community, and a litany of norms and values. All of the pre-mentioned factors are rich resources of data for my art.

Artistic Style

I take pride in being an artist that has the ability to work with multiple mediums of art. And not being confined to one particular medium or style. In determining what style and technique to use, I would find myself using spiritual inspiration or a feel guide to what fits the concept to be rendered. The art work in this exhibit is an array of pieces that reflect that concept of multi-tasking. One will find images done in graphite, felt pen, pen and ink, watercolor, acrylics, oil, pin striping oil, charcoal, pastels, ceramic (hand-built and thrown from the wheel), or combinations of techniques and styles. The work ranges from realism, impressionism, pop art-tee, graphite art, design art, or combinations.

My goal is make my work thought provoking, spiritual, political, social, racial, ethnic, intriguing, as well as something that just gets one to question their thoughts of what is art and art's purpose.

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