Hall of Fame Inductee - Les Kewney
The decade of the 50's provided the spotlight for a number of
outstanding multi-sport athletes. Among them was Les Kewney. Earning a
total of 8 varsity letters during his days at Quincy High, Kewney not
only participated---he excelled. He earned letters in football his
sophomore and junior seasons, providing the kicking duties and backing
up at quarterback and safety. On the diamond, Kewney was a 3-year
starter at third base and short stop, and was chosen as Quincy's
co-captain in 1956, while batting .406. But it is on the hard court
where Kewney was something special. He played an integral role from 1954
thru 1956 on teams that made it to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 in
post-season play. He was a starting guard in both his junior and senior
years, a co-captain in his final varsity season and was named to the
Chicago Daily News All-State team and was chosen first team all
tournament. He was named one of the nations top 100 High School Players
by Dell Magazine. Kewney was deadly from the free throw line,
connecting on 87 percent his junior year and 85 percent his senior year.
A career high 28 points against Pinckneyville during the quarter
finals of the state tournament his junior year punctuated an outstanding
career. In the summer of 1955 Kewney was nominated to the Air Force
Academy and was recruited by Dean Smith, who was then their assistant
basketball coach and later became head coach at the University of North
Carolina. However, he accepted a full athletic scholarship to the
University of Iowa, from Coach Bucky O'Conner, where he lettered in both
basketball and baseball. After his playing days were complete, Kewney
was assistant coach for the Iowa freshmen basketball, with Dick Shultz.
The team included future NBA Hall of Famer, Connie Hawkins. Kewney
earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a postgraduate certificate in
Physical Therapy in 1962. He joined the Blessing Hospital Physical
Therapy staff in 1963, where he was the director for 29 years. Kewney
and his wife, Caroline, reside in Quincy. They are the parents of a son
and daughter and have five grandchildren.
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