James Kenneth McManus (September 24, 1921 – June 7, 2008), better
known by his professional name of Jim McKay, was an American
television sports journalist.
McKay is best known for hosting ABC's Wide World of Sports
(1961–1998). His introduction for that program has passed into
American pop culture. He is also known for television coverage of 12
Olympic Games, and is universally respected for his memorable
reporting on the
Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
McKay covered a wide variety of special events, including horse races
such as the Kentucky Derby, golf events such as the British Open, and
the Indianapolis 500. McKay's son, Sean McManus, a protégé of Roone
Arledge, is president of
CBS Sports and News divisions.
1.1 Early life
1.2.1 ABC Sports
1.3 Maryland horse racing
4 External links
McKay was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in the
Overbrook section of the city in an
Irish American Roman Catholic
family. He attended Our Lady of Lourdes Grade School and Saint
Joseph's Preparatory School. When McKay was 14, he and his family
moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he attended
Loyola Blakefield high
school. He received a bachelor's degree from Loyola College in
Maryland in 1943. During World War II, he served in the United
States Navy as the captain of a minesweeper.
In 1947, McKay gave up his job as a reporter for The
newspapers to join that same organization's new TV station WMAR-TV.
His was the first voice ever heard on television in Baltimore, and he
remained with the station until joining CBS in New York in 1950 as
host of a variety show, called The Real McKay, which necessitated the
changing of his on-air surname. Through the 1950s, sports commentary
became more and more his primary assignment for CBS. In 1956-57, McKay
Chris Schenkel to call CBS telecasts of New York Giants
football. He was originally tabbed to be the lead broadcaster of the
network's coverage of the 1960 Winter Olympics, but had to be replaced
Walter Cronkite after suffering a mental breakdown. McKay recovered
in time to host the
1960 Summer Olympics
1960 Summer Olympics from the CBS Television
studio in Grand Central Terminal. He had a six-episode stint as
host of the game show
Make the Connection on
NBC in 1955.
He moved on to ABC and was the host of ABC's influential Wide World of
Sports for 37 years.
McKay was known to motor racing fans as the host of the ABC's annual
delayed telecast of the Indianapolis 500. At times McKay worked with
race drivers in commentary including triple
Formula One World Champion
Jackie Stewart, triple Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser, and Sam Posey.
While covering the
Munich massacre at the
1972 Summer Olympics
1972 Summer Olympics for
ABC, McKay took on the job of reporting the events live on his only
scheduled day off during the Games, substituting for Chris
Schenkel. He was on air for fourteen hours without a break,
during a sixteen-hour broadcast. After an unsuccessful rescue
attempt of the athletes held hostage, at 3:24 AM German Time, McKay
came on the air with this statement:
When I was a kid my father used to say "Our greatest hopes and our
worst fears are seldom realized." Our worst fears have been realized
tonight. They have now said there were 11 hostages; two were killed in
their rooms this morn-- yesterday morning, nine were killed at the
airport tonight. They're all gone.
— McKay, 1972
Although McKay received numerous accolades for his reporting of the
Munich hostage crisis (including two
Emmy Awards, one for sports and
one for news reporting), he stated in a 2003
HBO documentary about his
life and career that he was most proud of a telegram he received from
Walter Cronkite the day after the massacre praising his work.
McKay also hosted from the studio the
1980 Winter Olympics
1980 Winter Olympics in Lake
Placid, New York. A happier result came when the U.S. hockey team
defeated the Soviet Union in the Miracle on Ice. During the broadcast
wrap-up after the game, McKay compared the American upset victory to a
group of Canadian college football players defeating the Pittsburgh
Steelers (the recent Super Bowl champions at the height of their
In 1994, he was the studio host for the FIFA World Cup coverage, the
first ever held on American soil. McKay also covered the 2006 FIFA
World Cup for ABC. In 2002, ABC "loaned" McKay to
NBC to serve as a
special correspondent during the Winter
Olympic Games in Salt Lake
City. In 2003,
HBO released a documentary by McKay called Jim McKay:
My World in My Words, tracing his career. This film outlines McKay's
personal and professional accomplishments.
Maryland horse racing
McKay founded Maryland Million Day, a series of twelve races designed
to promote Maryland's horse breeding industry. The day-long program
has grown to become a major racing event in the state of Maryland,
second only to the
Preakness Stakes day at Pimlico Race Course. It has
spawned more than twenty other similar events at
United States race
tracks such as the Sunshine Millions.
McKay died on June 7, 2008, from natural causes at the age of 86. He
was survived by his wife Margaret, son Sean, daughter Mary Guba, and
three grandchildren. McKay, a horse racing enthusiast who also covered
Triple Crown races for ABC Sports, died on the same day as the running
Belmont Stakes (won by
Da'Tara that year).
McKay won numerous awards, including the
George Polk Award for his
sports and news coverage of the 1972 Munich Olympics.
McKay won thirteen
Emmy Awards in his lifetime.
American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame, inducted along
with veteran boxing and horse racing announcer Clem McCarthy.
1988: U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
TV Guide named McKay the best sportscaster of the 1970s.
2001: Paul White Award, Radio Television Digital News Association
McKay was inducted into the
Television Hall of Fame during its 11th
He was selected as the inaugural Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding
Journalism recipient in 2002.
NBC broadcast of the
2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony
2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was
dedicated to McKay, per a message at the closing of the broadcast.
National Collegiate Athletic Association
National Collegiate Athletic Association has dedicated a
scholarship for college athletes for postgraduate study in McKay's
The Armory in
New York City
New York City dedicated a High School track meet in his
name on December 12, 2008.
^ Kelly, Jacques (October 16, 2009). "Margaret Dempsey McManus dies at
Baltimore Sun. Tribune Publishing. [permanent dead link]
^ Schudel, Matt (June 8, 2008). "
Jim McKay dies at
Philadelphia Media Network. Archived
from the original on June 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
^ a b Sandomir, Richard; Litsky, Frank (June 8, 2008). "Jim McKay, ABC
Sportscaster, Dies at 86". The New York Times. The New York Times
Company. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
^ a b c Hiestand, Michael (June 8, 2008). "Jim McKay's wide world
spanned eras". USA Today. Gannett Company.
^ Sandomir, Richard (July 19, 2009). "Amid Blizzard, Cronkite Helped
Make Sports History". The New York Times. The New York Times
^ a b Hale, Mark. 5 Questions for Jim McKay.
^ Kelly, Christopher (7 January 2006). "Modern Munich lives with its
contradictions". Statesman.com. Archived from the original on 7 June
^ Abramson, Alan (5 September 2002). "Black September". Dallas Morning
News. Archived from the original on 23 October 2005.
^ "Jim McKay". Bio. 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-26.
TV Guide April 17-23, 1993. 1993. p. 61.
^ "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association.
^ Hall of Fame Archives & Honorees. Accessed 26-03-2015.
^ Olympics 2008 Opening Ceremony Intro and Ending **Courtesy of NBC**
^ "NCAA Creates Scholarship in Honor of Jim McKay". TVWeek.com.
Jim McKay at Find a Grave
Zurawik, David; Keyser, Tom & Fenton, Justin. "
Jim McKay dies at
Baltimore Sun, Sunday, June 8, 2008.
Litsky, Frank & Sandomir, Richard. "Jim McKay, Pioneer Sports
Broadcaster, Dies at 86" The New York Times, Sunday, June 8, 2008.
"Loyola Remembers Jim 'McKay' McManus of the Class of 1943," Loyola
College in Maryland, Monday, June 9, 2008.
Jim McKay on IMDb
Ivy League Remembers Jim McKay.
Jim McKay at the 1972 Munich Olympics
Jim McKay interview video at the Archive of American Television
Television voice of the
Television voice of the
American television prime time anchor, Summer Olympics
American television prime time anchor, Winter Olympics
Tim McCarver and Paula Zahn
Ernie Johnson Jr.
U.S. World Cup Television Studio Host
ABC's Wide World of Sports host
Frank Gifford and Becky Dixon
Emmy Award for Outstanding Host
Host or Commentator
Jim McKay (1967–68)
Not awarded (1968–69)
Not awarded (1969–70)
Don Meredith /
Jim McKay (1970–71)
Not awarded (1971–72)
Jim McKay (1972–73)
Jim McKay (1973–74)
Jim McKay (1974–75)
Jim McKay (1975–76)
Frank Gifford (1976–77)
Jack Whitaker (1977–78)
Jim McKay (1978–79)
Jim McKay (1979–80)
Host or Play–by–Play
Dick Enberg (1980–81)
Jim McKay (1981–82)
Dick Enberg (1982–83)
Not awarded (1983–84)
George Michael (1984–85)
Not awarded (1985–86)
Al Michaels (1986–87)
Bob Costas (1987–88)
Bob Costas (1988)
Al Michaels (1989)
Dick Enberg (1990)
Bob Costas (1991)
Bob Costas (1992)
Sports Lifetime Achievement Award
Jim McKay (1989)
Lindsey Nelson (1990)
Curt Gowdy (1991)
Chris Schenkel (1992)
Pat Summerall (1993)
Howard Cosell (1994)
Vin Scully (1995)
Frank Gifford (1996)
Jim Simpson (1997)
Keith Jackson (1998)
Jack Buck (1999)
Dick Enberg (2000)
Herb Granath (2001)
Roone Arledge (2002)
Ed Sabol and
Steve Sabol (2003)
Chet Simmons (2004)
Bud Greenspan (2005)
Don Ohlmeyer (2006)
Frank Chirkinian (2007)
Dick Ebersol (2008)
John Madden (2009)
Al Michaels (2010)
Jack Whitaker (2011)
Not awarded (2012)
Ted Turner (2013)
George Bodenheimer (2014)
Verne Lundquist (2015)
Brent Musburger (2016)
Television Hall of Fame Class of 1995
Richard Levinson and William Link
Dick Van Dyke
Major League Baseball on CBS
Major League Baseball Game of the Week
Major League Baseball Game of the Week (1955–1965; 1990–1993)
Major League Baseball on CBS Radio (1927–1941; 1976–1997)
College World Series on CBS (1988–2002, broadcasters)
The Franchise (2011-2012)
World Series television ratings
New York Yankees
St. Louis Cardinals
CBS TV Stations
WJZ 13 (
Baltimore Orioles, 1954)
WBZ 4 (Boston Braves, 1948-1949; Boston Red Sox, 1948-1954)
WCBS 2 (Brooklyn Dodgers, 1946–1949; New York Yankees, 2002-2004)
KPIX 5 (Oakland Athletics, 1975-1981; 1985-1992)
WPTZ 3 (later KYW) (
Philadelphia Athletics, 1947-1954)
KDKA 2 (Pittsburgh Pirates, 1958-1995)
Falstaff Brewing Corporation
Pee Wee Reese
Hosts & field reporters
1947 (Games 3-4)
1951 National League tie-breaker series
1951 National League tie-breaker series (Game 1)
Nasty Boys (Cincinnati Reds) (1990)
"And we'll see you tomorrow night!" (1991)
"The Slide" (1992)
"Touch 'em all Joe!" (1993)
"The Boys of Summer"
"The Famous Final Scene"
"Famous Last Words"
Jurassic Park (film score)
"The Walk Home"
Early World Series coverage
Initial Game of the Week era
1965 (New York Yankees games only)
Exclusive network package
Website: MLB Baseball - CBSSports.com
Thoroughbred Racing on ABC
Thoroughbred Racing on ESPN (commentators)
Wide World of Sports
United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing on television
Sponsorship and broadcasting
Triple Crown Productions
John M. Veitch
Wide World of Sports
Maria Sansone (Wide World of Sports for Kids)
Other key personnel
Stanley Ralph Ross
American Football League
The Super Fight
NCAA Men's Final Four
FIFA World Cup
Little League World Series (announcers)
Major League Baseball (announcers)
Major League Soccer
National Basketball Association (announcers)
North American Soccer League
Thoroughbred Racing (history)
The American Sportsman
Battle of the Network Stars
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
List of longest-running
United States television series