LEBANON (July 9, 2015) – The late John Cathey, East Tennessee State University’s longtime sports information director, was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s 10th Hall of Fame class during an induction ceremony Thursday evening on the campus of Cumberland University.
Cathey, who retired in 1994 after 25 years at ETSU, was inducted alongside Ed Given, who started his career at the Nashville Banner and finished as sports information director at Middle Tennessee State University, and the late Frank “Red” Bailes of the Knoxville News Sentinel.
With his oversized glasses and the ever-present cigar wedged between his teeth, Cathey was one of the most easily recognized and highly-respected sports information directors in the business. During his tenure at ETSU, Cathey was in the press box for 271 consecutive Buccaneer football games, and worked over 700 basketball games.
He worked under eight athletic directors, assisted seven football coaches and seven basketball coaches. In his first year on the job, he was in the stadium when the Bucs beat Terry Bradshaw and Louisiana Tech in the 1969 Grantland Rice Bowl. He was also on the plane when the basketball team’s plane crash-landed in Jasper, Ala., in 1984, just miles away from his hometown of Gadsden.
A veteran newspaper man, Cathey came to ETSU from Greenville, S.C., where he wrote for the Greenville News, covering professional golf and baseball, as well as college football and basketball. He also worked for the Greensboro Record. Cathey, who served in the U.S. Air Force in the Korean War, was a legendary storyteller and garnered national acclaim for his work. In addition, he received the College Football Centennial Award for Sports Information Directors.
Cathey passed away on April 8, 1998 at the age of 68.