Mr Jim McKeever RIP

7 April 2023

Mr Jim McKeever lit a torch of excellence in physical education and sport at St Joseph’s College of Education in the 1950’s which is still burning brightly seven decades later at St Mary’s University College. That torch was ignited by his Masters-level study of sport at Loughborough University and his own innate ability. His legacy is immense.

Thousands of his former ‘Ranch’ students are deeply saddened to learn of his passing.

Mr McKeever was a superb athlete who excelled in gaelic football, basketball and gymnastics. He was gifted with speed, agility and co-ordination in such a way that he could have turned his skills to any sport.

During his classes in physical education at the College his ability to demonstrate skills or activities was what inspired the learners. He was a great believer in outdoor education and the PE field courses that he led were memorable. Student teachers who learned to teach physical education brought the subject into the curriculum of hundreds of schools for the benefit of their pupils. Those students who chose to play for the College gaelic football teams were treated to the highest level of coaching and tactics which they benefited from greatly.

In both physical education and competitive sport it was Mr McKeever’s manner which distinguished him from others and made him really special. He did not get the name of ‘Gentleman Jim’ by accident. Mr McKeever was an outstanding communicator and also excelled in interpersonal relationships with students, players, colleagues, sport administrators and indeed opposition team coaches.

The Principal of St Mary’s University College, Professor Peter Finn KSG said:

“I had the privilege of coaching and managing the gaelic football team at St Mary’s alongside Mr McKeever for a period of eight years and was a colleague of his in teacher education for many more years than that. We planned, travelled, coached, won and lost games together and therefore I was fortunate both to learn so much from him and gain insights into his approaches and methods in sport. I know that Mr McKeever considered the victory of St Mary’s in the Sigerson Cup of 1989 to be one of his most treasured achievements. However, it should be noted that he had also managed outstanding winning teams before that in the Ryan Cup, Trench Cup and other competitions. Mr McKeever was inspirational and his work in both physical education and competitive sport has created a tradition that will live long into the future.”

Winning Managers of the Sigerson Cup (1989 and 2017)
On Mr McKeever’s last visit to St Mary’s he met with Paddy Tally
who managed the Ranch success in 2017

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