Northwestern State University mourns the passing of John McConathy, who died peacefully early this morning at age 86.

McConathy -- the father of NSU basketball coach Mike McConathy -- went from being a star athlete to holding a 31-year career as Bossier Parish Schools Superintendent. According to a news release, he was also a founding member of Citizens National Bank and served as chairman of the board for 25 years, and was the man behind the design and acquisition of funding for the $55-million Bossier Parish Community College campus.

He was an All-American in 1950-51 who was the fifth selection overall in the NBA Draft, chosen by the Syracuse Nationals. In his coaching days, he guided Bossier High School to a state championship in 1960.

At NSU, he was a 2005 inductee in the Long Purple Line, the university's Hall of Distinction for former students, and in 1972 he was enshrined in the N-Club Hall of Fame, which honors the top athletes, coaches and staff members in NSU history.

Other honors include induction in the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982, and membership into the Ark-La-Tex Sports Museum of Champions in Shreveport.

"We have lost a great one," said NSU President Jim Henderson. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike and Connie and the entire McConathy family. The impact of John McConathy on athletics, on education, on his community, and on Northwestern State cannot be overstated. He personifies the best characteristics and values of our greatest generation. We all can learn from the example of Godly life he gave us."

Visitation for McConathy is Friday from 5-7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Bossier City. His funeral is at the church at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The family suggests memorial contributions to causes dear to McConathy:

The Demons Unlimited Foundation for the John and Corene McConathy Men’s Basketball Scholarship, 468 Caspari Street, Natchitoches, 71497, online via www.nsudemons.com/mcconathyscholarship.

The Northwest Louisiana Fellowship of Christian Athletes Sports Camp for Junior High-Senior High Student-Athletes, online at nwlafca.org

The First Baptist Church of Bossier City, Freedom Fields.