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McKinney honored by basketball officials for hospitality

Hospitality is something that Patty McKinney has taken very seriously for many years and now she has been honored by officials she has fed for a long time.
A person who has been involved in Longhorn athletics for 20 years, McKinney and her late husband George will have the area's sportsmanship award for basketball named in their honor.
The football award is already named after a Mountain City native in Ralph Stout and now the McKinneys are able to share the basketball honor.
McKinney not only fed football and basketball officials her delicious chicken casserole and other fine dishes, she cultivated relationships with the same people who really weren't friends to most of the fans.
It's an honor that McKinney will always treasure.
“It's awesome and it's a privilege and honor that we were even considered,” she said. “The privilege is they named it after George. They could have named it just after him and I would have been just as proud.”
Officials like Herb Greenlee, David Birkner and Pappy Crowe among a host of others have really developed a special relationship with the McKinneys over the years and all these officials enjoy eating the wonderful meals that McKinney has cooked for them.
Most of all, it's the bond McKinney has with the officials that allowed this honor to come to fruition.
“They like to eat,” she said. “I made friends with them and they were like family and I got to know a lot of them over a period of time and we became friends and they just enjoyed being able to come up here. There are a lot of places they go where they don't get much to eat. We always made them feel like they were doing something special and to let them know it wasn't just a paycheck. George always looked after them and they came to the hospitality room and enjoyed eating and they weren't harassed by anybody. They enjoy coming here.”
McKinney also understood that many of the officials had at least one hour drives to Mountain City and that when the basketball games were over, most places were closed.
Usually the JV referees ate after their games and the varsity referees at before their game. Sportswriters, radio broadcasters, coaches, school administrators and game personnel like scorekeepers are also welcome to eat in Johnson County's hospitality room.
“Everybody should make them feel welcome and not harass them wherever they go,” McKinney said. “I knew most of them had other jobs and that they didn't have time to eat on the way here and by the time they got through with games here things were closed. A hot dog at the concession stand doesn't do anything for you. I figure if we give them a good cooked meal it's better for them and better for us. I think it makes them feel appreciated and they need to feel like that. With the hospitality it makes them feel somebody cares about them.”
Patty is really happy that they thought enough of her late husband, who was a security guard at the school, to include him on the plaque that will be given out to the local team that shows the most sportsmanship and best hospitality.
“They thought enough of him after he was gone and they did when he was working here and that was a privilege for me,” McKinney said.
McKinney passed over the hospitality duties to JCHS teacher Kathy McCullouch this year and she retired from her beloved baseball program this year, where she started at JCHS 20 years ago.
McKinney earned a lot of respect for how she handled the high school baseball program and always made everyone from officials to media welcome.
McKinney also served as Little League President for several years.
McKinney says it's time for her to move on from being involved in JCHS athletics.
“I love these kids too death, but it's time for a younger generation to take over and I'm glad to see someone else has come in and done stuff,” she said. “I'm getting older and there are people who need to step up and I'm glad to see people are stepping up. I hope they get as much enjoyment as I did.”
As far as her involvement with the kids, she will always love the children in Johnson County.
“We have great kids,” McKinney said. “Don't let anyone tell you that teenagers aren't any good. I have kids I had 20 years ago who come back and see me. If you'll establish a rapport with these kids you will not regret it and I wish them well. I will be around.”