Educator goes for a bike ride

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, March 26, 2023

LOYD STAR — In a blue and orange biking jersey too, Kevin McKone unloaded a bright orange Marlin bike from his truck. It was a gorgeous day for him to ride the Mt. Zion Bike Trail on Mt. Zion Road close to where The Dart landed Thursday. 

A native of Denver, Colorado, he has lived in the Brookhaven area for the past 30 years. 24 of those years have been spent at Co-Lin Community College.

He graduated from Colorado State in Fort Collins and later got his masters and PHD at Southern Miss. USM had an oceanography program. 

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For five years, he worked in oceanography as a civilian scientist with the US Navy. Two of those years were spent on the high seas and three in a lab at Stennis. 

“The highlight was traveling the world. We went to Korea and Hong Kong,” McKone said. “I enjoyed it immensely. It was a marvelous job. It was not conducive to having a family.” 

He took a teaching job at Loyd Star Attendance Center in 1992 where he met his wife. She helped him connect with resources and how to set up his classroom for his first school year. 

McKnoe said they did not start dating until about five years after. She is from Bogue Chitto and worked as a teacher in the Lincoln County School Districts for 28 years. They live in the Enterprise community. 

McKnoe is a physics and engineering teacher at Co-Lin. He said he plans to retire this May. It was kind of a random chance he became a teacher in the first place. 

“I just fell into it. I never thought I would be a teacher,” McKone said. “A Jesuit priest asked me to teach overseas. He asked me to teach and I said okay. I taught for a while. I worked as an oceanographer and he would drag me back into teaching.” 

May will bring his 24 years at Co-Lin to an end. He is retiring and plans to travel with his wife. 

Their children have flown and left the nest. He said they enjoy mountain bike riding and have plans to travel and ride once he retires. 

Until about five years ago, he rode bikes off and on. Clear Springs offered the closest trail until Johnny Smith built the hike trail on Mt. Zion in 2006. He and his wife ride on the trail about three times a week now. 

Mt. Zion’s trail offers 10-12 miles of bike riding and 5,000 feet of elevation change. 

“It’s just a good excuse to be outside. It is quiet,” McKone said. “It is a good excuse to travel too. We have ridden in Birmingham, Alabama, and Bentoville, Arkansas. We have biked in Maryland and Colorado. We hope once we retire we will ride more.” 

Thursday was a gorgeous day with sunny blue skies, song birds singing and a cool breeze. McKone said he knew he had to take a bike ride after he taught class. 

His class on Thursday was good and reminded him of what he will miss upon retirement. 

“I’m going to miss the students. I had marvelous students. Some went on to be doctors and engineers all over the country,” McKone said. “They are outstanding. I will miss them. When you get to my age you start to slow down a little bit. I had a good class today. I will miss the interaction, but it is time for someone younger to step in and teach.”