TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Sept. 6, 2015 — Bob Kenney, 1935-2015

Bob Kenney, who died today, was a journalist and editor of the Camden Courier-Post beginning in the fall of 1971.

But he was so much more. He was an important figure in an era before Title IX, when he opened up the sports pages to girls’ scholastic sports. His imprint is everywhere within the eight counties that make up the southern half of the state, from Bordentown all the way to Cape May.

A softball field bears his name in Riverside. He helped in the founding of the Field Hockey Club of South Jersey, based on the many football-centric social clubs that brings together coaches from across the southern half of the state — and sometimes crowded girls’ sports out of the newspaper.

What made Kenney unique, however, was the knowledge he garnered from years of exposure to the true greats of the sport in the southern half of the state. He got to know founders such Constance Applebee, and Bess and Mary Taylor, administrators such as Ginny Whitaker, coaches such as Bea Thomas, Jeanne Kline, Bobbie Schultz, and Joan Lewis, plus umpires such as Jane Hansen, Sister Joan Companick, and Marie Gimmi.

As such, Kenney was a living historian of the sport. He pinpointed the start of scholastic field hockey in November of 1909 as a home-and-home series between Moorestown (N.J.) and Haddonfield (N.J.) Memorial. The occasion was observed before the two teams met in a game six years ago.

Kenney’s knowledge was such that he wrote an extraordinary obituary (scroll down to about halfway through this page) when Applebee passed away in Scotland in 1981. It remains one of the most extraordinary paeans to a life I’ve ever read.

There will be many more words written for Kenney in the next few days because of the number of lives he touched with his commitment to fairness and willingness to give an entire gender a chance in the pages of the newspaper.

So long, Bob. Make sure you have a cup of tea with Constance and Bea when you’re up there. And say hello to Jim Davis, would you?

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3 Comments»

  Nancy Costello-Keegan wrote @

Great article about Bob Kenney!
I am Mackenzie Keegan’s mom from Eastern High School. I attended grammar school with Bob’s son in Riverside. I always remember Bob covering many athletic events in South Jersey. My dad was a varsity High School Basketball coach at Burlington City High School and Bob covered many of his games. I also played field hockey at Holy Cross High School in Delran where Bea Thomas came out and helped her daughter coach my team the one year that she took over the reigns. It was the best coaching that I ever had from a true field hockey legend. Your article truly brought back many fond times for me as a classmate, a daughter, and a player. Thanks for the memories!!
Nancy Keegan

  Joe O’Gorman wrote @

Very nice Al. Bob was a good man and him and Davis will be talking field hockey that’s for sure.

  GIna Smith wrote @

If it wasn’t for Bob Kenney (My Uncle) I would have never believed in myself! He told me I would be able to play College Field Hockey when I didn’t think I could because I only played 2 years in HS. Bob was kind, motivating, honest and always took the time to promote Field Hockey. We lost an amazing man who displayed courage and grace. Bob now you can talk Field Hockey again with Clark! Thank you for being you Uncle Bob! Love, Gina Carey-Smith


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