McNary High School

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For the closed McNary High School in Arizona, see McNary Elementary School District.
McNary High School
4690 River Rd N
Keizer, Oregon, Marion County 97303
 United States
Coordinates 45°00′02″N 123°01′58″W / 45.000597°N 123.032793°W / 45.000597; -123.032793Coordinates: 45°00′02″N 123°01′58″W / 45.000597°N 123.032793°W / 45.000597; -123.032793
Type Public
Opened 1965
School district Salem-Keizer School District
Principal Erik Jespersen [1]
Grades 9-12[2]
Number of students 2081[2]
Color(s) Blue and white         [3]
Athletics conference OSAA Central Valley Conference 6A-7[3]
Mascot Celtics[3]
Newspaper The Piper

McNary High School is a public high school located in Keizer, Oregon, United States. It is named for Charles L. McNary, a U.S. Senator who was from the Keizer area.


Statewide standardized testing in Oregon has exposed a need for improvement in McNary's Mathematics department. With the first year of implementation of the "Group Math" in 2005, McNary ranked in the 26th percentile in the state.[4] McNary's English department continues to show improvement: 53rd percentile in reading, 64th percentile in writing (2006). Both the Math and English departments have made efforts in implementing support classes and labs to assist struggling students in meeting academic benchmarks. The Oregon Department of Education school report cards for 2006-2007 gave McNary High School its first "strong" rating- an honor shared by only one other high school in the district. Since then, McNary Senior High School has been unsteadily improving. In the 2010-2011 school year, the school received a "needs improvement" grade on its report card.[5] However, rallying under principal Honey, teachers have worked harder and better since and in the 2011-2012 school year, the school received an "outstanding" on its report card.[5]

In 2008, 83% of the school's seniors received their high school diploma. Of 444 students, 368 graduated, 47 dropped out, and 29 are still in high school.[6][7]


McNary's athletic teams are nicknamed the Celtics or Celts. For a time the girls teams used the nickname "Lady Celts" but have since dropped the gender-centric term. All teams, whether boys or girls, use the same nickname. Throughout the history of the athletic department McNary has competed in the highest OSAA class.


McNary's success on the gridiron came under the direction of legendary coach Tom Smythe. McNary's 51 points in the 1997 championship game was, at that time, the highest single-game record for a 4A title game, besting the 47 points scored by The Dalles in 1947. The 99 points tallied by both McNary and Beaverton in that 1997 championship game shattered the previous record of 59, established in Marshfield's 40-19 win over Medford in 1956, and remains the highest aggregate score for a championship game at any level in Oregon.

Boys Basketball[edit]


Baseball is arguably McNary's most successful athletic program, appearing in six state championship games and winning three state championships.[10] Head coaches Vic Backlund (1989) and Craig Nicholas (2009) have each garnered state coach of the year honors.[11][12]


  • 2001 4A co-ed Runner-up
  • 2005 co-ed Champion (since 2003, all co-ed teams compete for one championship regardless of school size)

Boys Golf[edit]

  • 1970 A-1 Runner-up[13]
    • Jeff McRae - 1970 Individual Champion

Girls Golf[edit]

  • 2005 4A Runner-up[14]
    • Jerilyn White - 1996 Individual co-Champion
    • Rebecca Kim - 2004 & 2005 Individual Champion


  • 1990 3A co-Champion (tied with Milwaukie 1-1. Game called after 7 innings due to rain)[15]
  • 1991 4A Runner-up (lost to Churchill 0-7)

Boys & Girls Swimming[edit]

No team has won a championship but three swimmers have won Individual Championships.

  • Seth Pepper - 1989, 100 yd butterfly
  • Jake Palmer - 1997, 50 yd freestyle
  • Amber Boucher - 2006, 50 yd freestyle

Boys & Girls Track and Field[edit]

The Celtics have recorded a total of six Individual Championships, three of which came in the high jump (1969, 1970, 2004).

  • Mike Fleer - 1969 & 1970, high jump
  • Leonard Panther - 1971, long jump
  • Phillip Alexander - 2003, 200m & 400m dash
  • Monica Groves - 2004, high jump


Although the Celtics have had limited success as a team the wrestling program has produced a number of individual champions, none more notable than Howard Harris, 1980 NCAA heavyweight champion at Oregon State University.[16] The bulk of McNary's success came under the leadership of legendary head coach Jerry Lane, first ever wrestling coach at McNary and 1996 inductee into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.[17]

  • 1975 AAA Champion[18]
  • 1976 AAA Runner-up[18]

Ten wrestlers have accounted for eleven Individual Championships.[19][20]

  • Ron Boucher - 1972, 130 lbs
  • Sam Hewitt - 1974, 136 lbs
  • Stace Stone - 1975, 115 lbs
  • Howard Harris - 1976, 191 lbs
  • Loren Quest - 1983, 157 lbs
  • Dan Brinlee - 1992, 178 lbs
  • Rudy Ramirez - 1993, 130 lbs
  • Sean Santana - 2002, 135 lbs & 2003, 140 lbs
  • Levi Martinez - 2010, 112 lbs
  • Wes Heredia - 2011, 215 lbs

Notable Alumni[edit]


McNary has two major forms of media: the Celtic Network News (CNN)(formerly known as "Celtic Student Network"), the school's video announcements, and The Piper, McNary's school newspaper. CNN is a student-run news segment produced by the Media Productions Workshop class, and is aired on repeat on two large Sceptre T.V.s in the school's commons. One T.V. is placed on the wall outside the Main Office, the other under the "Ken Collins Theatre" sign.