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

TOMAHAWK - Sometimes it feels like you've had a rough day. But as the old saying goes, "someone out there is having a tougher day than you." We caught up with a Tomahawk woman who lost her house in a fire and is battling cancer. Some Tomahawk kids told us how she's able to keep a smile on her face and bring cheer to others.

"She's a very strong woman. She's very cheerful. Despite all of her hardships she still can smile. She still has a loving heart," said 18-year-old Umran Abdul Majeed.

Judy Schroeder always has a warm smile on her face. Even after she lost everything last Wednesday night in a house fire.

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - Students from China could come to Wausau to go to school next year. The Wausau School District is working with the UW system to start a new exchange program.


+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - You might want to pour yourself an extra cup of coffee in the morning.

New dietary guidelines suggest you should drink three to five cups of coffee each day.

+ Read More

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has agreed to impose strict new regulations on Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T.

+ Read More

LANGLADE COUNTY - With these frigid temperatures, it seems like summer is far away. But one local group is already planning for the summer months.


+ Read More

Play Video

NORTHERN WISCONSIN - Deer councils in Northern Wisconsin want to see more deer. Harsh winters have decreased local deer population and harvest levels. Leaders in the Northwoods hope local changes with deer population management goals will help.

A 2012 state deer report set up local deer advisory councils. They now recommend whether to increase, maintain, or decrease deer population.

The Natural Resources Board voted and approved council plans for deer populations throughout the entire state. For northern Wisconsin counties, that means plans to increase the population.

"The biggest tool we have to manage deer populations is to increase or decrease the number of antlerless deer that are taken by hunters," said Antigo's DNR Area Wildlife Supervisor Chuck McCullough. "If we want the population to grow, we take fewer antlerless deer by hunting."

+ Read More

MADISON - Republican leaders of the Wisconsin state Assembly promised last year that a right-to-work bill would not come up this session.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here