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The Indianapolis Star is about to lose its third sports department veteran since April.
Star Sports Editor Jim Lefko announced this week that assistant sports editor Pat McKee will depart the state’s largest daily newspaper July 3.
McKee, who has been with the Star for more than 26 years and this year was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, has become well known for his coverage of high school and women’s sports.
McKee did not return calls seeking comment, but told his Star bosses that he and his wife will be leaving Indianapolis for Ft. Myers, Fla.
McKee’s departure follows Mark Montieth’s exit last month and Tom Rietman’s retirement in April. Montieth, who most recently covered the Indiana Pacers, had been with the paper 14 years. Rietman, an assistant sports editor on the copy desk, had been with the Star 27 years.
McKee not only reported on many central Indiana high school sporting events, he coordinated other reporters and freelancers in the paper’s efforts to cover scholastic sports statewide. McKee also covered many other high-profile sports events, including the Colts move here from Baltimore in 1984.
A native of St. Louis, McKee graduated from Christian Brothers College High School and attended the University of Missouri, where he was an honors student and earned Phi Beta Kappa.
McKee arrived in Indiana in 1980 for a four-month administrative fellowship with the Indiana Pacers. He returned in January 1981 after completing college and joined the staff of the Indiana Sports Weekly, a tabloid-sized newspaper that concentrated on Indiana high school sports. He was hired a year later by The Star to work on the sports copy desk.
The Star is already adjusting its roster. Tom Brew, an Indiana University graduate who worked at the Indiana Daily Student with sports columnist Bob Kravitz, was brought in to replace Rietman. Star sports reporter Jeff Rabjohns has moved into Montieth’s slot to cover the Pacers along with Mike Wells.
While Star officials don’t yet have a replacement for McKee, they are advertising for the position, which shows a willingness to restock the sports department. Some industry insiders said Star management has been less willing to do that in other departments, instead trimming the staff by attrition.