Loading
Search
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

NORTHWOODS - Michelle Reiche loves spending Saturday afternoon with her kids and dog Dexter.

"Kids were catching frogs down the ponds down here and he was going down by them and he [Dexter] must have drank some of the water," said Reiche.

But that fun afternoon changed when that water made Dexter very sick.

"I ran over to him right away and he was just shaking like this," Reiche said. "I knew something was wrong right away as soon as I went to him."

The family took the dog to Central Wisconsin Animal Emergency Care Center in Kronenwetter. The doctor said Dexter most likely was exposed to Blue-Green Algae.

"They didn't think he was going to live," Reiche said. "They basically told us he was more than likely not going to survive. "

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - When police get called for an active shooter situation, they want to be sure they're prepared. Officers in Oneida County were trained to handle these crisis situations Tuesday afternoon at Nicolet College in Rhinelander.

We may not see active shooter situations in northern Wisconsin often.

But events like what happened at Antigo's prom about a month ago tell officers they always need to be prepared.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Habitat for Humanity Northwoods wants to start building its 20th home. But first, it needs to find a family to receive the home.

The group will hold workshops to help families learn about Habitat for Humanity and apply for a home.

+ Read More

Play Video

SHAWANO COUNTY - In April, the Unified School District of Antigo school board voted to close Mattoon Elementary. 

Some community members weren't happy about that.

Now, the Village of Mattoon and two other people hired a lawyer and filed a lawsuit against the district and the board.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Figuring out what you want to do for a living can be a tough decision for a high schooler.

That's why getting to work in a local business before graduating could be a big help.

+ Read More

Play Video

IRON COUNTY - Tucked away in southern Iron County, many people consider the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage one of Wisconsin's best kept secrets.

When the Chippewa and Flambeau Improvement Company built the Turtle Dam 90 years ago, it flooded 16 natural lakes and impounded 14,000 acres creating the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage.

The company owned the land until the state bought the flowage and 114 miles of shoreline surrounding it in 1990.

+ Read More

Play Video

ONEIDA COUNTY - Many people use the hundreds of miles of ATV trails here in Oneida County. And those trail users will soon have a wider stretch of path to use as we approach the busy Memorial Day weekend.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here