William G. McKee
Bill was born in Lewiston, Pa. He moved to Ashland, Ohio in 1926 to take a job at the Ashland Times-Gazette. He married Jean Elizabeth Lowe, a 1926 graduate of Ashland HS. They had three girls: Mary Lou (Montoya) of Banning, CA and a 1946 AHS grad; Kay (Yates) of Big Bear Lake, CA; and Betsy (Teague), now deceased, of Santa Paula, CA. The McKee’s had eight grandchildren. Bill died in 1979 in Santa Paula, CA.
Bill came to Ashland after working four years as the city editor for the Lewistown Sentinel in his hometown. He covered sports for the next 20 years as the City-Sports editor for the Ashland T-G. In 1946 he resigned the T-G for a warmer climate, and worked for newspapers in San Antonio (the Light); Clovis, New Mexico (the News-Journal); and North Hollywood, Calif. (the Valley Times). He, also, was a Hollywood press agent for Jimmy Stewart and Ann Sheridan. He finished his career in a wholesale confectionery business in Santa Paula, Calif.
Bill had the premier sports page of his era. His almost daily column “The Bull Pen” was widely read and gave him a state and national reputation. He probably wrote around 4000 Bull Pen columns. He was straight forward even to the point of printing the letters of his critics or those “weisenheimers” as he called them. He was a hands-on writer, who visited the practices and the other games. He sought the opinion and counsel of the guys in the field - the coaches and players.
His coverage was phenomenal for the times. He covered everything in Ashland: college and high school, grade school and church league, even the county games, but the North Central Ohio League (1919-1945) received the best attention of any of the eight league newspapers. He had league standings with scoring leaders, and even all-star teams when the other papers only covered their hometown games. He had news and details on the opponents to the point of reporting that Bucyrus had scouted our basketball team four times before their first meeting. Back in the 20’s he had a Monday report on the weekend league results, and then on Thursday or Friday he had the scoop on the next opponent and the other league games. For twenty years no one covered the NCOL like Bill McKee covered it. He set the bar. He was the standard. One observer of the era said that he was one of the people who kept the league together for so long.
His passion for Ashland College was best displayed, when AC had no funds for the famous Gil Dodds to travel to the National Track Championships in California, however Bill McKee raised his travel expenses. Gil Dodds was able to not only run in the race, but he won the championship.
The County schools, also, were recognized and given in-depth coverage. The box score for every Ashland County tournament game, boys and girls, was included in the T-G. Bill McKee not only reviewed every game, but he picked the All-star teams and awarded the winners the Times-Gazette trophy. One Loudonville resident said that Bill sent personal letters of congratulations to the successful picks, and he had one of his father-in-law’s letters to prove it.
Bill, also, served on many community boards as the President or an officer. The list included: The Public Library, YMCA, Ration board, Public Assistance, Associated Charities, Park Commission, Eagles, Phoenix club, Kennel club, Northern Ohio Officials Association, and the District Softball commissioner.
Bill McKee is the first HOF selection, who watched and reported the action on the field, so the athlete’s achievements could be remembered for history.
Nominator: Paul Dienstberger