Loading

22°F

20°F

23°F

22°F

22°F

24°F

23°F

24°F

22°F

22°F

24°F

23°F
NEWS STORIES

Remembering a hodag legend - behind the microphone, in the communitySubmitted: 06/25/2013
Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


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





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

CRANDON - Prosecutors think a Forest County woman protected her boyfriend after he threw her young son across a room in 2013.

Jennifer Shepard is charged with three felonies in the wake of the incident, including abuse, neglect, and helping a felon. Her boyfriend, Brandon Brunette, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison in October for throwing the boy.

Shepard was in court today to face another felony charge.

+ Read More

Play Video

LAONA - The Laona Fire Department got a new fire truck this month with many updated features. The department thinks it will be able to protect its community more effectively after the major upgrade.

The department has a few trucks that are getting old, but they hope to slowly get rid of the aging fire trucks and replace them with newer equipment. Laona Fire Chief David Rosio said the department had some help getting the new truck.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Many hunters know the animals they hunt live off of a certain type of tree.

If those trees aren't around, the animal species could struggle to stay alive.

A part of the U.S. Farm Bill called the Regional Conservation Partnership Program will pay forest landowners for clearing younger types of forest.

"It's important in this area because normally what we are doing is setting back the successional stages of the forest," Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership Habitat Coordinator Callie Bertsch said. "This would have normally happened by a natural disturbance, like wind and fire. Obviously we still have wind disturbances, but we suppress fires a lot."

+ Read More

Play Video

CRANDON - A Crandon man will spend more than ten years in prison for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl last year.

34-year-old Gerald Schleisner found out his sentence Tuesday.

This was the second time Schleisner has been convicted of sexually assaulting a child.

He was convicted in 2007 in Milwaukee County.

Schleisner apologized to the victim in court Tuesday.

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - In school, kids learn not only how to read and write but also how to be good neighbors. A Northwoods school joined a national effort this week to show kindness to each other and the community.

+ Read More

Play Video

PELICAN LAKE - Police don't know what caused a fuel truck to crash near Pelican Lake Tuesday.

Thankfully the truck didn't spill any of its payload.

The accident happened around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning on Highway 45 just north of Pelican Lake. The truck made its way over an embankment before stopping in a thick area of trees.

+ Read More

Play Video

HURLEY - Cars in line wrap around block after block on the snowy streets of Hurley.

"Well, I got here at 11:15, and now I'm through the line, and it's 1:30," says Cindy Brannigan. "But it's worth it."

She calls this time of each month, the last week, "the hard time" for many families in the area. The next paycheck or Social Security check is a week away.

Sometimes, the food supply at home is almost gone.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here