TERRE HAUTE —
On Friday night, Mayor Duke Bennett declared Oct. 1, 2010, “Tony McGee Day” in Terre Haute.
If you’re a Terre Haute South football fan, you probably want every Friday to be “Tony McGee Day,” at least for the next few weeks.
“That’s what I said after the game,” South coach Mark Raetz remarked. “He needs to be here every time because he definitely brought us some luck tonight.”
A former Cincinnati Bengals tight end and South legend, McGee spoke to the team and treated the enthusiastic homecoming crowd to a pregame speech when his No. 5 football jersey was being retired by the high school. That set the tone for the Braves’ 21-7 Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference triumph over Indianapolis North Central.
Having covered the 6-foot-4 McGee during his eventful South athletic career in the late 1980s, I was glad to see him looking so fit and happy at 39.
“My daughter says, ‘When you get your jersey retired, that means you’re old and crusty,’” McGee said with a chuckle before the game.
“For me, it’s exciting coming back. I got the opportunity to go to the pep rally. They’ve got homecoming here and I got to spend time with the football team … It all started for me right here.”
I didn’t get to see McGee after the game, but my guess is he kept smiling after South piled up 14 points in the fourth quarter to seal the outcome.
Living in Orlando, Fla., McGee described how he played for the Raiders and Chargers — not in the NFL — but in the Vigo County Youth Football League in the 1980s. And the field he often played on was Terre Haute South’s.
“I’ve been playing on this field for a long time,” he recalled. “I was big for my age, so my mom always made me play with my older brother. I think you were supposed to be 10, but she threw me in when I was only 8.
“I played here all the way through high school. We had a lot of fun here. We got a lot of victories and we played with some great football players on this field, guys like Anthony Thompson, Ernie Thompson and Shawn Stephens. But I think too we had some great coaches — Rod Shafer and that whole group of [South] coaches, Wayne Stahley back then at Terre Haute North… We also had great fan support.”
On the personal front, McGee said he married former Orlando television anchor woman Jacqueline London in April. He also praised his 11-year-old daughter Hannah and her tennis-playing skills.
McGee mentioned that he’s no longer helping the Big Ten Network broadcast football games because of the time he needs to spend on his business, HNM Enterprises.
Still the sports fan even though he’s retired as an athlete, McGee follows Terre Haute South, University of Michigan and pro football when he can. A veteran of 11 NFL seasons with the Bengals, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, he said he usually watches games at home on DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package.
McGee particularly enjoys checking out Cincinnati wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, who went by Chad Johnson when he was an NFL rookie in 2001, McGee’s final season with the Bengals.
Speaking from years of football experience at the highest levels, McGee certainly left a favorable impression on the Braves and a few of his former mentors over the weekend.
“He’s a great person, he’s a great athlete and he’s a great role model,” Vigo County School Superintendent Dan Tanoos said during the pregame ceremony.
“He just told us to focus — get all the homecoming stuff out of our heads — and just focus on the game,” emphasized South workhorse running back Tyler Evans, who contributed 153 rushing yards and one touchdown Friday night. “It helped.”
“We want these Braves to get a victory tonight,” McGee told me before the game. “That’s what it’s all about and that’s my message to the team: ‘Hey, it’s great to be honored. But this is about you guys and taking it one play, one game, one victory at a time. And when you get into the [IHSAA] tournament, anything can happen. Keep that vision in mind as you move forward.’ “
Yes, the stars seemed to align for South’s 2010 homecoming. When the Braves needed a win, they turned to Tony McGee, just like the old days.
A 1977 graduate of Terre Haute South Vigo High School, David Hughes can be reached by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224 after 4 p.m.; by e-mail at email@example.com; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.
TERRE HAUTE —
On Friday night, Mayor Duke Bennett declared Oct. 1, 2010, “Tony McGee Day” in Terre Haute.
- Hughes News & Views
Hughes, News & Views: Odds in favor of Richard Sherman being mentioned here
I’ve explained my post-2011 NFL allegiances before, but allow me to summarize them one more time for any new readers to this column.
I eased into liking the Indianapolis Colts as my favorite team in the late 1980s. Like plenty of other Wabash Valley sports fans, I became Colts-obsessed when Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne and others turned them into an elite franchise in 1999 and the early 2000s.
When the Colts beat Da Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4, 2007, I yelled as loud as anyone in Terre Haute.
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When I covered the semifinal round of the IHSAA boys tennis sectional at Terre Haute North last week, it seemed like there was an empty seat in the bleachers.
In reality, I noticed few — if any — empty seats because plenty of spectators wanted to watch the host Patriots battle No. 14-ranked Terre Haute South for the right to advance to the next day’s sectional championship match.
In the end, junior Nathan Bogle pulled out a dramatic three-set victory at No. 1 singles to help South edge its crosstown rivals 3-2 on its way to capturing the sectional title.
Yet there was something missing.
The person who would have been in that empty seat I imagined, Nathan’s father Jim Bogle, had been battling cancer for close to two years and could not attend the sectional.
Sadly, cancer claimed his life Thursday morning. He was 52.
Hughes, News & Views: Doug Shouse going into ASU Hall of Honor
One thing you can say about members of Terre Haute’s Shouse family: They never have had a problem with running and jumping.
At least not until knee problems hit.
An outstanding athlete since the days I played pick-up basketball games with him and his brothers in the Terre Haute Boys Club and Indiana State University Arena gyms in the mid to late 1970s, a young Doug Shouse knew how to turn heads with his dunks and athletic fast-break moves against college guys and mediocre players like me.
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At 7 feet tall, former Terre Haute resident Greg Oden stands out in almost any crowd.
So to persuade the increasingly healthy Oden to play during the 2013-14 NBA season — for the first time since Dec. 5, 2009 — a team needed to offer something unique to stand out.
Like, say, a chance at a ring.
Enter the Miami Heat, who have won the last two NBA championships behind the “Big Three” of four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
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When I talk to my old weightlifting buddies around the country on the phone, through texts or on Facebook, we frequently reminisce about “the good ol’ days.”
Imagine that — guys over 50 living in the past.
Anyway, I recently discussed with Jim McCarty — who now lives in Daytona Beach, Fla. — about a “Terre Haute’s Strongest Man” contest he organized in the mid-1980s inside the National Guard Armory on Maple Avenue.
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Gather around, my friends. I think I may need an intervention.
After winning the championship game of our Tribune-Star newsroom free fantasy football league in 2003 — the first time I ever participated in the popular hobby — I became hooked on dominating as many leagues as possible.
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It’s no secret that Mark’s Par Three is not the most difficult golf course in Vigo County.
But it’s enjoyable for beginners and golfers of modest skill levels and it doesn’t lack for activity during warm-weather months.
Open since 1964, it’s had its fair share of players test their skills, probably several better than 43-year-old Brian Brown of Terre Haute.
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One previous time, I believe, my annual May questions column ran one day late into June.
Can you forgive me for this being the second time?
With apologies out of the way, below are questions that have been taking up valuable space in my head lately.
Some are serious, some not so much. Most are sports-related, but don’t blame me if a few are not. After all, newspaper sportswriters don’t eat, sleep and breathe sports 24/7 (contrary to what my Lisa might tell you).
Here we go:
• How funny will the reaction of the national media be when the Indiana Pacers knock off the unbeatable Miami Heat tonight and Monday to take the series and head to an NBA Finals showdown with the San Antonio Spurs? Hint: Several ESPN “experts” will need to change their underwear next week.
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Having competed in the Boston Marathon once before in 2003, 35-year-old Majel Wells of Terre Haute thought she should give it another try in 2013.
“My goal was just to finish and enjoy Boston,” she reflected this week. “I had an injury [runner’s knee] beforehand, so I wasn’t too worried about beating my time from 2003 [4 hours, 10.20 seconds].
“But nobody cares about what your time is at Boston anyway.”
From what I’ve heard over the years, she’s right. Unless you’re a super-serious runner, the Boston Marathon has been more about taking in the atmosphere and having fun than placing in the top 50, although Wells was pleased that she beat her previous time by finishing in 3:55.19 on April 15.
Obviously, her race time wasn’t the most vivid memory that Wells took away from her 2013 Boston experience.
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I had my first phone conversation with Mike Saylor since mid-February on Thursday and he sounded good.
The former Terre Haute South High School boys basketball coach, who’s been battling cancer this year, has been traveling back and forth to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for chemotherapy treatments.
Recent South swimmers Roach, Bray heading to DI nationals
I’m sure most of you with office jobs can relate.
When work gets busy, sometimes it’s easy to skim over our emails. After all, how many times do we need to read the same nonsense from alleged Nigerians wanting to make us rich if we’ll send them several thousand dollars first?
So after having three consecutive days off, that almost happened to me when I returned to work Tuesday. Then I realized that the message from Jeff Thompson, Terre Haute South High School’s boys and girls swimming coach, contained significant news.
NCAA Division III basketball tournament returns to Rose-Hulman
The last time Rose-Hulman served as host for the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament, its game was played inside an old World War II airplane hangar.
You “old-timers” should know the building I’m talking about and the matchup wasn’t really that long ago — March 6, 1997, to be exact.
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When I learned in February 2009 that a rare form of appendix cancer would devastate my life and cause me to miss work for several months, Mike Saylor was among the first to offer assistance.
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Now might be too late for giving Christmas presents, but the book “Trophies and Tears: The Story of Evansville and the Aces” is a fascinating read for longtime Indiana basketball fans, particularly those older than 40.
Written by award-winning Kyle Keiderling of Henderson, Nev., and released in hardcover format in mid-December, the 480-page “Trophies and Tears” documents the rich tradition of the University of Evansville men’s basketball program through recent interviews and research of old yearbooks and newspaper/scrapbook clippings.
The book contains many cheery moments — behind-the-scenes details of all five NCAA College Division (now known as Division II) championships won in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s by the Purple Aces and their legendary coach Arad McCutchan — although some of those moments don’t seem so cheery from an Indiana State perspective when the Sycamores found themselves on the losing end of scores.
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We’re approaching the halfway point of the NFL season and so far it’s been surprisingly enjoyable.
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In June 2011, I wrote a feature story about former Indiana State basketball center Mick Yelovich making a name for himself as a golfer on the Long Drivers Association (LDA) Tour.
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Bryan Egli and Joe Puthoff, both Rose-Hulman basketball starters I covered in the late 1990s, took their degrees from the prestigious engineering institute and found successful careers in the Indianapolis area.
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Almost 10 years ago, February 2002 to be exact, the New England Patriots upset the high-powered St. Louis Rams to win Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans, the Winter Olympics entertained spectators in Salt Lake City and Terre Haute South High School’s girls basketball team started its tournament run toward a Class 4A state title.
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Last week, I was all set to beg Santa Claus to give the Indianapolis Colts a certificate good for one NFL regular-season victory.
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