Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dr. Joe Kearney

Dr. Joe Kearney

The following is taken from the Official Athletic Website of the University of Washington:

May 6, 2010

Joe Kearney, who served as athletic director at the University of Washington from 1969 to 1976, passed away Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz., at the age of 83.

Dr. Joseph L. Kearney was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., on April 28, 1927. After serving in the Navy Air Force in World War II, he attended Seattle Pacific University, where he played basketball.

After graduating from SPU, began a career in education and athletics in the town of Paradise, Calif., before eventually making his way to the UW, where he earned his PhD and served as an assistant athletic director before taking over the athletic director job, succeeding Jim Owens in that role.

During his time at the UW, Kearney is probably best remembered for hiring two of Washington's most legendary coaches: Don James and Marv Harshman.

After leaving Washington, Kearney was athletic director at both Michigan State and Arizona State before serving as commissioner of the Western Athletic Conference from 1980 to 1994, when he retired.

Kearney and his wife, Dorothea, had five children and 11 grandchildren.

Dr. Kearney had a great relationship with our good friend Mark Johnson. He was the first principal at Tumwater H.S. where Mark went to school. In 1966, when Mark was on the U. of W.'s Freshman football team, Dr. Kearney was now the Head Freshman Coach while he continued to work on his Ph.D.

As for me, I remember our football coaching staff at the U. of W. in those days as being very young and somewhat over the top because of it. I found Dr. Kearney to be an oasis of calm professionalism during those turbulent times. He was a man that I quietly admired for these fine character traits.

Simply, he was a good man.

1 comment:

Erin Kearney Leary said...

Thank you for your kind words about dad. He was one of a kind, larger than life, and will be greatly missed.