Remembering a hodag legend - behind the microphone, in the communitySubmitted: 06/25/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

RHINELANDER - People in Rhinelander knew him by voice alone.

But Todd McEldowney, the longtime voice of the Hodags, was much more than that to the community.

He died late last month.

"He was synonymous with Hodag sports. He was the voice of the Hodags," says Todd McEldowney, Todd's son.

The senior McEldowney became almost as much of an institution for Rhinelander athletics as the Hodag itself.

His 33 years behind the radio microphone and as a teacher at Rhinelander High School inspired, as well as entertained.

"People left him feeling better about themselves and better about the world they lived in, because he truly loved what he was doing," his son remembers.

Football to basketball, softball to snowmobile derbies, WOBT radio to a stint here at Channel 12, and the microphone to the classroom, the Rhinelander community knew and loved him.

"All in all, we had an excellent time together," says his longtime partner, Paul Ebert.

Ebert was with him in the booth for decades.

"I probably preferred basketball on the fact that it was indoors and warm," Ebert laughs.

"If I wasn't with him broadcasting, we were probably fishing for walleyes on the weekend," he says.

Many people thought he could go even bigger than the Northwoods.

"I would think he would have been network caliber," says Ebert.

"He decided that teaching was so important to him, and he loved being around the kids so much, that he was going to stay here in Rhinelander, support his Hodags, and teach for Rhinelander High School," says the junior McEldowney.

Stay, support, and teach - and be vital member of the Rhinelander community.

"He always thanked people that were listening. He mentioned specifically the shut-ins and the people that couldn't get to the games," says his son.

McEldowney signed off with his signature line for the last time in 1988.

"Win or lose, it's always a good idea to back your Hodags," he would say.

But that didn't end his love for Rhinelander.

"He was so proud and so loyal to the Hodags, and that's something he took with him until the day he died," his son says.

He died on May 26th, loving every minute of life.

"He always said in his closings that he hoped people enjoyed the broadcast as much as he enjoyed bringing it to them."

You can help remember McEldowney by aiding in building a new press box at Mike Webster Stadium, Rhinelander's football home.

Make donations out to McEldowney Memorial.

Send them to O'Melia, Schiek, and McEldowney, 4 South Stevens Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


Play Video

ANTIGO - We often hear of big groups and organizations raising money for cancer.

But sometimes it's nice to know the face behind who is giving the money.

Dorothy Mifflin, 15, of Antigo is one of those faces. She crochets hats, scarfs and headbands and sells them, giving the money to local people suffering from cancer.

She then gives her money to local people with cancer.

When she was young, she found spare yarn around her house and taught herself how to crochet. Later she made hats for her entire fourth grade class. When more and more people wanted her hats, she decided to sell them.

And she made her business into a mini non-profit.

She sells her hats of all different shapes, sizes and designs for just a few bucks.

Here's the interesting part. Instead of keeping the money she makes, like many people her age probably would, this teen donates her money to local people with cancer.

"I get shy I guess, I just say I wanted to do this because I thought it would be really nice," Mifflin said.

Right now she buys the yarn or its donated to her. But her new project is to make her own yarn, and she has all the machines for it. A family friend donated the machines to Dorothy and another friend taught her how to use them, including how to spin. She also makes dryer balls with the wool she spins.

She gets some of that wool from her own sheep. Mifflin lives on a farm where her family has 23 sheep and plenty of other animals. Mifflin also shows her sheep at state fairs and most recently, the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival.

"I've been showing sheep for a long time," Mifflin said. "I just love it. I love showing sheep."

Mifflin has a Facebook page for selling her hats, called "Funky Hats By Dorothy." See the link below. 

+ Read More

Play Video

CASSIAN - Northwoods veterans hope a new national cemetery in Oneida County will emphasize remembrance and learning.

The second national cemetery in Wisconsin will open in Cassian, just west of Rhinelander.

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - Firefighters spend a lot of time preventing fires from happening.

They want people and businesses to make buildings as safe as possible.

Merrill's Citizen's Fire Academy learned about how the department does that.

Every public building in Wisconsin needs to go through a fire inspection.

+ Read More

ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Abbotsford 34, Loyal 12

Adams-Friendship 32, Mauston 14

Almond-Bancroft 50, Port Edwards 0

Amery 24, Somerset 14

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - Riverside Athletic Club in Merrill wants to encourage people to lead a healthy lifestyle.

That's why it's hosting an open house Saturday. Riverside wants the community to come and try different classes and see what the club has to offer.

+ Read More

Play Video

- You will need more than a pen and paper to pass this class at Northland Pines High School.

Students are building a house and CornerStone Custom Builders are helping and funding the project. 

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - More than five million people in America suffer from some form of dementia.

Workers at the Bell Tower Residence Assisted Living in Merrill want to help change that. That's why Bell Tower is hosting its third annual Walk to End Dementia this Saturday.

In recent years workers at Bell Tower have seen an increase in dementia patients.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here