TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Dan Connell / Staff Writer
When you think of service to a middle school or high school athletic program, one name that may come to mind is that of Jimmy McKiddy.
The Whitley County High School graduate and Williamsburg native contributed several years of his time and efforts toward making the Whitley County Colonel football and basketball programs ones which were smoothly operated. McKiddy wore several hats during his behind the scenes work with the Colonel athletic program, but recent health issues have sidelined McKiddy, forcing him away from his duties as scorekeeper and public address announcer.
Although McKiddy may be away from Colonel athletic events physically, his spirit remains passionate when reminiscing on his time spent around the lives of those whom he touched and those who touched his life.
“The love for the kids was always number one,” McKiddy said. “We had some good times and we had some tough times and they would involve me in on the tough decisions that were made.
“I've always felt as if we've had some great kids who have played for us. They care for each other and they look out for each other,” he added. “When I came down with Leukemia in 2001, and things kind of started getting bad for me and I had to go on chemo, they would bring extra pillows and extra blankets where I could lay across two seats on the bus after the game coming home.
Mckiddy said in 2008, he had to give up traveling with the team on the road and missed it terribly.
“I've had 13 surgeries in 13 years and it's a lot different when you are there as opposed to sitting at home listening to it on the radio,” he added.
McKiddy's service began in 1992 at the Whitley County Middle School where he kept stats and game clock throughout basketball season. He also volunteered to film games, and even stepped in as a coach on rare occasions due to a coach's ejection or absence of a coach who was tending to an emergency injury with a player.
McKiddy stressed the importance of placing the love for the kids first and making sure every child has something to eat. He recalls an instance when two players were short on money after a trip back from a basketball game.
“We stopped on the way back from a game one night and there were two girls sitting over there who weren't eating,” he added. “And I had a cousin who was a cheerleader and I asked her to go over and find out if they were on a diet and maybe didn't want to eat, or was it because they didn't have any money. She come back and said they didn't have their money so I took them up there and got them whatever they wanted to eat.
“The next ball game they came up and tried every way in the world to give me five dollars a piece,” he added. “I said girls, can I ask you a question? If I didn't have a nickel to my name, if you had money would you buy me something to eat. And they said we'd spend our last penny on you, then I said your debt is paid.”
McKiddy's involvement with Colonel athletics led him to the football booth where he spent several seasons as both spotter and public address announcer at the Whitley County High School football games.
He was asked to serve as both boys' and girls' basketball team statistician and public address announcer in 1998. It would result in a position McKiddy would hold until 2013.
“I tried to make sure every kid got credit for the points they scored,” McKiddy said. “If it was two points or if it was 25 points, it went to the right person.
“I wanted every kid to have a shot at the 1,000-point club. In football, we wanted to make sure the correct player got their yards because they wanted to be in the 1,000-yard club because it would give them a goal to go out there and break a record,” he added. “The referees have said many, many times that I see more on the floor than they do."
McKiddy and his family opened the doors of their very own home to the student-athletes of Whitley County High School.
“We've always had kids at our home,” Mckiddy said. “We tried to make our home to where the kids loved to stay with us. Our rules were not too strict, but we tried to make it to where they enjoyed staying.
“When they came to our house, we wanted them to feel loved,” he added. “When they would come to us, a lot of times they would have problems at home and you never knew how much love at home they had and we tried to give it to them.”
Retired Whitley County Lady Colonel coach Larry Anderson spent many years along side McKiddy and considers him a friend.
“More than anything, I consider him a great friend,” Anderson said. “We spent a lot of time together. He was always dependable, and if you've ever been in coaching, the little jobs are the ones that are the hardest to deal with a lot of times, and he would always take care of things like that.
“You never had to worry about it,” he added. “He did whatever he could to help the kids out. He was much appreciated and still a good friend today. He provided good Christian leadership and is just a good person in general.”
McKiddy also noted how he appreciated many of the opposing team's coaches for the respect which they showed him.
McKiddy states that his latest medical procedure reflected in the shrinkage of tumors and his prognosis from the doctor was very encouraging.