Turkey Day: Love for the game

Jeremy Maclin coaches his team from the sideline. (Tess Hubbard)

Either you’ve seen him running routes around his defender on the field, or now coaching his team to a winning season, former 10-year NFL veteran, Jeremy Maclin, played for the Eagles, Chiefs and Ravens. Maclin was a gifted football star during his time at KHS, especially in his senior year where he had 17 touchdowns, and 1,042 receiving yards. This translated directly into the next level when he became a Pro Bowl wide receiver in 2014 and voted third for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2009. Now back at KHS, it is not playing that continues his love for the game, it’s coaching. 

Maclin grew up in Kirkwood, attending KHS where he played for the varsity football team all four years of high school.  Coming back in February 2021 to be the head football coach of KHS was an easy decision. 

“It means a lot just having everything come full circle,” Maclin said. “To have been able to have grown up in Kirkwood, gone though Kirkwood schools and play for Kirkwood, now to have the opportunity to come back here, it’s definitely a dream come true.” 

It’s definitely a dream come true.

Sam Horrell, KHS offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, has been a coach for 22 years, and said that he has never seen a coach as “transformational” as Maclin. He believes Maclin truly cares about the players and the community. 

“I’ve coached with a lot of gentlemen in the past who are transactional coaches, meaning that they only care about what they get out of the kids, and that’s not Coach Maclin, He cares about the kids, and truly cares about Kirkwood deep down inside.” Horrell said. “[Maclin] really hold us to high expectations as coaches, and also as players.”


Maclin talks to one of his players in the middle of a game. (Tess Hubbard)

Someone who has gotten to know Maclin on a personal level over the years is senior running back Deion Brown, who has committed to Eastern Michigan University to play Division I football. Brown said Maclin has helped him with the challenges of football and becoming a better person 

“[Maclin] has helped me get to the next level, and [has taught me to] learn different things about the game of football,” Brown said. “From a life standpoint, how to be an accountable person, to be a better man overall.” 


                Something that Maclin has experienced as a player and a coach is the annual Turkey Day game. Turkey Day is when players of both Kirkwood and Webster’s varsity football teams lace up for the final game of the season. This is one of Kirkwood’s richest traditions, which Kirkwood currently holds a record of 44-37-5 over Webster in the 115 total contests between the two teams. The Turkey Day game is the longest ongoing thanksgiving football game west of the Mississippi river, Maclin is no stranger to this game having played in four and coached one.

“[The Turkey Day game] is another opportunity for two great communities to come out and be able to play on Turkey Day and give families something to do before they sit down and eat,” Maclin said. “It’s been a great tradition, and I’m super proud to be a part of it on both sides whether playing or coaching.” 

Tradition, rivalry and historic

“Tradition, rivalry and historic” Maclin said are the three words he would describe the big game. Maclin is one of the few who has been able to experience the Turkey Day game on either side of the field. However, the coaching of this historic game is what brings him the most happiness. 

“I get a lot of joy out of seeing my kids go compete and play because I know how hard they’ve worked throughout the season,” Maclin said. “For them to get the opportunity to play, I get really excited and really happy for them.”