By BRIAN McCOY
Reflections From the Son of a Hall of Fame Sportswriter:
I am often times asked what it was like growing up Hal McCoy’s son. I don’t have an elaborate man cave to escape to, but I will attempt to answer this question from my dining room table at the risk of being distracted by my two Doberman Pinschers, Finn and Xena.
The Early Years:
I can remember moving a few times early in my life as Dad searched for his niche in the industry. I recall living in Detroit for a short period of time as Dad worked for the Detroit Free Press. Shortly after that, we moved back to the Dayton (Kettering) area and lived in a small ranch off of David Rd. We lived there a short period of time before moving to West Carrollton.
West Carrollton would end up being where I grew up and eventually graduated high school. The vast majority of my memories are from the time in West Carrollton. I can remember going to auto races and UD basketball games. On many occasions I was able to go onto the UD Arena floor after games and shoot paper wads into the baskets while waiting on Dad to finish his game story.
I believe this is the time that I developed my love for the game and I wanted to be the next Donald Smith or Johnny Davis.
Needless to say, living in the McCoy household meant having a love for sports. I grew to love basketball, football and baseball and played all three early on in my life. I excelled at all three and didn’t really have a favorite. Dad helped me develop my skills in baseball and basketball by often times making time to play catch or shoot some hoops with me on the next door neighbor’s backyard court.
He tried really hard to incorporate the hook shot into my early basketball arsenal. That didn’t work out so well. This time period is also the time I started to develop my love for the Reds, Browns and UD basketball. Go figure.
Junior High Years:
As is the case with many, these years were rough. Dad was now covering the Reds full-time and I was rebelling a bit. I continued to play all three sports. I was the quarterback on the football team, forward on the basketball team and catcher on the baseball team.
Dad continued to help me as much as possible, but his job made it difficult. He was rarely available to see me play football and baseball. I understood the situation, but I always wanted him there because I was excelling in all three sports and I knew he would be proud watching me play and I wanted nothing more than to make him proud.
As I look back now, I know he wanted to be there as much as I wanted him to be there. He always called from the road to find out how I played.
High School Years:
My sophomore year I made the difficult decision to focus my athletic ability on basketball. The decision was made because of political reasons in regards to the football and baseball coaches. Basketball was also the sport I played best even though my first love was now football.
It was a no brainer and of course Dad supported the decision. As it turned out, it was the best decision. Dad was able to come to every game and he did. I loved having him there, but it wasn’t always roses and rainbows. Dad was my harshest critic and at times it was brutal. Two occasions come to mind. My senior year I broke the West Carrollton single game scoring record by scoring 38 against Franklin (that record has long since been shattered). After the game, I couldn’t wait to get home to see Dad’s reaction. His reaction was if I had hit two more free throws I would’ve had 40 points. The next game I decided I was going to get that 40, but it didn’t go so well. I was an embarrassing 10 for 30 from the field that night and Dad was not happy. He said I played selfishly and he was right, but in the end I know that he was still very proud of me.
After my senior year season ended, I was voted to many all area and all district teams. What was it like being Hal’s son? Many people said that I received those honors because of him. Unfair and untrue. Not all roses and rainbows.
College Years and Beyond:
Not much to say in regards to my college years. I attended Ohio Northern University and was a member of the Polar Bear basketball team. I rarely played as it was a defense oriented program and that wasn’t my forte. Dad came to every game no matter how far the drive or weather conditions in hopes that I would see the floor. It didn’t happen often, but when it did he was there.
Today, we are very close and have great relationship. He and Nadine have always been there for me through the good and extremely bad. That is Hall of Fame material in my book.
For those of you that don’t know him personally, he is a very humble person and is appreciative of the people that helped him along the way. His fans mean the world to him and he takes the time to talk to anyone that approaches him. His legacy will live forever in Cooperstown, NY.
This is the part people want to hear the most. Up to this point, I’ve focused on Hal the Dad as that is what he is to me first and foremost.
Yes, I have had some great experiences:
-seeing many Reds games including the Big Red Machine.
-sitting outside the Reds clubhouse as my favorite players came out heading to their vehicles.
-attending spring training yearly and meeting many players.
-playing tennis with Thom Brennaman at Spring training.-playing tennis with Thom Brennaman at Spring training
-meeting Bob Knight and his son at Spring training
-attending world series games in ’76 and ‘90
-personalized autograph from Johnny Bench (signed on Dad’s book Relentless Reds)
-personalized autograph from my favorite Red of all time, Eric Davis (my son’s first name is Eric)
-owner of a 1975 World Series ring that Dad gave to me not so long ago
-my favorite – attending Dad’s Hall of Fame induction – what an incredible, proud moment.
In summary, I have had an incredible life being the son of Hal McCoy, but at the end of the day he is just Dad to me. We are so much alike. We love sports, dogs, the same foods and so much more. I love him very much and I am extremely proud to be his son.