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War Memorial pressbox to bear Cawley name

War Memorial pressbox to bear Cawley name
For more than 35 years, Jim Cawley provided radio play-by-play for Union City High School football games from the pressbox high atop War Memorial Stadium.
Appropriately enough, that media area will be named in his honor Friday night before the Golden Tornadoes open their 2008 season against Westview.
The Jim Cawley Pressbox will officially be designated in a brief ceremony prior to the 7:30 p.m. kickoff between UC and Martin.
Union City Director of Schools Gary Houston will present gifts to Cawley’s widow, Shelia, and sister, Janet, while tapes of Cawley calling past Tornado games are played in his tribute over the public address system.
There will then be a temporary banner unveiled across the front of the pressbox officially proclaiming it the Jim Cawley Pressbox, to be replaced by a permanent marking later.
Cawley, the voice of UCHS sports for longer than three decades, died after a 20-month battle with cancer in June. He was 55.
Houston said the honor was most appropriate, given Cawley’s longtime service to Union City High School and Obion County sports, and his icon status in the broadcasting industry.
“There has been a great deal of support from both the (Union City School) Board and the community to do this in appreciation for what Jim Cawley did for our sports programs and athletics in general,” Houston said. “He was the voice of Union City and Obion County sports for so long, and when you heard his voice, you associated it with our young people and the games they played.
“It’ll certainly be different this year without being able to hear Jim make those calls.”
Cawley broadcast more than 5,000 games in football, basketball and baseball on both the high school and collegiate level over the course of his distinguished career that was spent mostly as the news and sports director at WENK-AM.
He later called games for WQAK-FM.
A graduate of Union City High School in 1970, Cawley also officiated games and was actively involved in a variety of capacities in the Union City Babe Ruth Baseball League for more than three decades.
UCHS Principal Barry Duncan, a childhood friend of Cawley’s, echoed Houston’s sentiments while speaking of Cawley’s status as a broadcaster and his contributions to the community.
“His voice transcended four decades and legends of Union City High School and Obion County sports,” Duncan said. “He’s been their connect to athletics and our programs.
“Jim had great passion for what he did in the broadcasting industry. He was thorough and fair, and mostly, he was always prepared. I can’t say enough good things about what he gave to our athletic programs and their supporters.”
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.