The Perfect Shot – EC Alumni Spotlight on Emerson McClung

In basketball, athletes picture themselves making the perfect shot. In their mind, they hear the swish of the net, and the crowd going wild. For EC alumnus, Emerson McClung ’20, the perfect shot has a different meaning. 

While at Emmanuel, Emerson was known as a member of the basketball team. However, those who knew him well knew he never went anywhere without a camera.

“In my junior year the basketball team went to Hawaii,” he remembered. “I brought my Go Pro with me, filmed everything, and did a little edit.”

What brought Emerson to Emmanuel?

“Basketball was a serious factor,” he said. “I can remember going to a game at Emmanuel and an older player fell on the floor and the whole team got off the bench and helped him up. I knew right then that I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be a part of the culture Coach (TJ) Rosene and Graham and the others had built.”

Now a U.S. History Teacher and Basketball Coach at Apalachee High School, Emerson credits his time at Emmanuel for preparing him for success in the classroom and on the court. 

Top Flight Volleyball Club celebrates point

“The clinical hours we did at Emmanuel were a huge help,” he said. “We were in the classroom from sophomore year on, getting some hours whether it was full-time or a few hours per week. I spent time at the middle and high school levels, so I was comfortable coming in on day one which was nice.”

Serving as the Head JV Basketball Coach for Apalachee, Emerson looks to model the styles of two coaches who made a tremendous impact on him as a player and person…TJ Rosene and Graham Maxwell. 

“Graham knows his stuff but prides himself on having a relationship with every single guy on the team,” Emerson said. “Coach Rosene is relational as well but knows all about the X’s and O’s. He’s one of the smartest coaches I’ve played under. I try to be a mixture of the two. I try to put people in their best spot but have a relationship with each guy and let them know I have their back.”

When he’s not in the classroom, Emerson is behind the lens. What started as taking senior photos for friends has now turned into a thriving business that continues to grow. 

Walnut Grove Basketball player takes flight!

“I have a contract with Prince Avenue to shoot their sporting events,” he said. “I get hired by different schools, volleyball clubs, and coaching friends. The business is growing faster than I expected, for sure.”

How does he pitch himself to clients? 

“First off,  I show them the quality of my work,” Emerson said. “I make sure I put a quality product out there. I also want to deliver the product on time, not a day late or an hour late. I want to make sure my clients get the best product when they ask for it. I try not to skip any steps and make sure the job is done right the first time.”

Several of Emerson’s students who have an interest in photography have joined him to shoot sporting events. What advice does he share with them?

“Go shoot anything,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s your brother or sister in the backyard. Shoot at any time of day so you’ll learn the different settings and lighting. Know that you’re going to have to work for free at first, the big checks will come if you keep working at it.”

To view Emerson’s work, visit his website or give him a follow on Instagram @emersonphotography_.