Bob Kenney did much more than write and report on sports.
The iconic former Courier-Post Sports Editor also gave back to sports.
Kenney, a trailblazer of a newspaperman who put women’s athletics on the front page in the early 1970’s, passed away in 2015. He was also a pillar of the Riverside community.
His son, Ed, is continuing his father’s legacy by giving back to South Jersey sports.
Ed started the Bob Kenney Softball Tournament last summer to provide scholarship money for area high school students.
“We raised $9,000 last year, it was great, it was overwhelming,” Kenney said. “I wasn’t prepared for something like that … emotionally it's just spent me.”
Kenney, who is the coach of the Medford Tech girls’ basketball team, is staging the second annual Bob Kenney Softball Tournament on Saturday, August 19, at Whomsley Field in Riverside.
“I wanted to do it at my Dad’s field, but there's only two fields there and we got 14 teams last year,” Kenney said about the baseball and softball fields on Hooker Street in Riverside that were named after his father.
In addition to being the Sports Editor of the Courier-Post for over two decades, Bob Kenney was the official scorer of the Phillies and was a member of the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association for over 50 years.
He also covered seven different Olympic Games and was inducted into 14 Hall of Fames.
Not surprisingly, Ed is growing the tournament like his Dad helped to spread sports news and good will in South Jersey.
“This year I'm hoping for 18 teams, maybe 20 teams, and its $250 a team,” said Kenney, who took Medford Tech to the postseason for the first time in 25 years last winter. “And you're guaranteed two games. Last year, it was so hot, some teams just wanted to play two games and that was cool.”
If the tournament sounds like fun, well it is.
“We agreed not to have a winner last year, just to play to have fun,” Kenney said.
“We had 14 teams and two teams were pretty competitive and everyone else was pretty much chilling out.
“What I'm thinking about doing, depending on numbers, is on one field without fences, anyone who wants to be competitive, three or four teams, can play each other,” Kenney added.
The tournament is open to men’s and women’s teams.
“The Riverside High School girls softball team, which my Dad just absolutely loved, they played in the tournament,” Kenney said.
The tournament also included a Home Run Derby. Ryan McFadden from Delran will look to repeat.
“We had 22 people in the home run derby,” Kenney said. “You get 10 pitches for $10 and you can use your own pitcher. It was cool.”
It was also cool the help and donations Kenney received.
“Third Base Sports did the shirts and they hooked us up,” Kenney said. “I got like 10 sponsors names on the back and they said they would sponsor it too. People came out of the woodwork.”
The West Chapter 5 Softball Umpires Association and the South Jersey Umpires Association donated their time behind the plate.
“It's really cool seeing people come together,” Kenney said. “But I tell you why it was even better, we had a fun day.”
And, along with the good time, Kenney gave back like his Dad did by awarding scholarships to six high school seniors.
“I was able to go to their graduation ceremonies to give out the scholarships,” Kenney said.
The deadline to enter a team is two weeks before the tournament and Kenney said, “We're still looking for sponsors and donations.”
Ed is certainly following his father’s legacy and slogan: "If you have the ability to make a difference, it is your obligation to try."
You can make a difference by supporting the Bob Kenney Scholarship Softball Tournament. You can contact Ed on the Bob Kenney Scholarship Facebook page or BobKenneyScholarship@yahoo.com