We send along our condolances to the family of Coach Tony McKee(former Smith H.S. head football coach) who died in an automobile accident last weekend. Coach McKee was a soft-spoken man that did a great job of rebuilding the Smith Golden Eagle program back in the late 90’s. I remember back in 1998 when Tony had Smith rolling with wins over High Point Andrews, High Point Central which was coached by Gary Whitman, and then Smith beat Dudley like a drum. Coach McKee had rebuilt the Smith program and he had the Eagles on solid ground.
Coach McKee played his high school football at Dudley and then hit the college game at Virginia Tech. Tony was a receiver and was coached by the legendary Bill Dooley. Tony played for the Hokies along side of teammates Kenny Lewis(a swift runningback from Danville), there was the tight end Mickey Fitzgearld(a big strong fellow from Lynchburg) and another man on the Hokie squad at that time was Cyrus Lawrence, the best runningback in Hokie history. I followed the Hokies closely in those days and knew the names of just about every player in the state of Virginia.
Coach McKee was a laid- back and a soft- spoken gentleman and he knew his sports well. I remember on one occasion at a basketball game between Dudley and Smith over at Dudley when Coch McKee joined me as my halftime guest on the radio broadcast and then stuck around for the second half. My partner for the game couldn’t make it and Coach McKee filled in and did a super job. Tony was very bright and knew his material well.
I also remember a football game with Dudley vs. Smith at A&T State University when I went into the locker room looking for Coach McKee and he was not to be found. I finally found him hiding in a stall and we did the interview but Coach McKee was a troubled man and he told me that this would be his last season at Smith and the next year he was off to coach in Georgia.
Tony was a man that people loved and he will be missed very much. We hope the best for his father Jonathan McKee Sr. and for his wife Jala Anderson. Tony’s wife Jala was a former News 2 weekend news anchor and she did an outstanding job. I have no idea why News 2 let her go but she was a very sharpe young woman. The soft-spoken Tony McKee is gone but he will not be forgotten and this man helped many young people in this community and his family should be extremly proud of what Tony did while he was with us.
On the basketball front Northwest got over the hump and and the Vikings won a close one over Page 51-47 in overtime last Friday night at Northwest. Alphonso Scandrett led the Vikings with 20 and he hit two big free throws at the end of regulation to send the game into OT. Pat Furr added 12 points for Northwest and were are sure that Coach Mike Everette was happy to see his club get the win in a tight game on Senior Night.
The Northwest girls defeated Page 62-41 and coach Darlene Joyner had the chance to see her team win in the last regular season home game for her young daughter, point guard Whitney Joyner. There was a celebration after the game and the coaches and family members got to spend some quality time with their players on this special night. The boys will lose Scandrett to graduation but Furr and some of his friends will be back next season.
The big ESPN classic movie of the week Sunday at the Lawndale Drive In was, “The Fish That Saved Pittsburg”. This reel Sports Classic featured the hoops action of a young “Dr. J” Julius Erving and his little friend James Bond III. The basketball team was the Pittsburg Pythons and they were a unit made up of all Pieces. The stars fell into place for this ABA looking team and they begin to win with Dr. J and Meadowlark Lemmon leading the way. This old Drive-In shows these movies and basketball games and it’s almost like you are on a plane trip to the moon once the games begin. Your flight attendants are Amy, Heather, and Caroline and the pilot is Dr. Tim Duhon. Doctor/Pilot Duhon makes it seem like this plane has never left the ground. The Doctor also drives a pretty mean scooter when he has used up his frequent flyer miles. I look forward to next week’s ESPN Classic at the Drive-In and hope that they will show SlapShot with Paul Newman in the near future.