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Former Tampa Tribune sports editor Tom McEwen dies, leaving legacy of sparking pro sports in Tampa

mcewen060611_178407c.jpgTom McEwen's legacy will always be a complex one -- centered as much on his active work in bringing professional sports teams to Tampa and shaping their early direction as for his work as a journalist.

In 30 years as sports editor of the Tampa Tribune, McEwen was one of the most dominant voices on sports in the Tampa Bay area at a time before ESPN and the Internet sapped so much of fans' attention.

But some of his biggest successes came outside the sports pages, in working hard to bring pro soccer, NFL and NHL franchises to the Tampa Bay area, reportedly doing everything from helping pick the Buccaneers uniform to helping the Lightning hockey team come up with its name.

Even for the time, McEwen's moves pushed the boundaries of what might be considered acceptable involvement for a journalist. Such direct involvement in the establishment of a team could make covering some questions difficult -- from looking at the cost to the community to policing the actions of team owners.

Still, there is little doubt that McEwen leveraged considerable connections and energy to create the current landscape of professional sports in Tampa. He died early Sunday morning at home after a long battle with cancer at age 88.

The St. Petersburg Times' Andrew Meacham has a well done obituary you can see here. McEwen's longtime employer The Tampa Tribune, also has an excellent tribute here. And tributes to him have appeared everywhere from CBS Sports to ESPN and the Washington Post.

[Last modified: Monday, June 6, 2011 7:32am]


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