OV Unsung Hero: McVicker an institution at Trail

OLD WASHINGTON — Time is something Tom McVicker has plenty of these days.

The Guernsey County native is retired from a distinguished educational career in his own backyard, allowing him and his wife of 50 years, Cynthia, to spend a lot of that time with their children and grandchildren.

But come the end of August, McVicker will be back high above the turf at the Baker Activity Complex across the road from Buckeye Trail High School keeping the clock for Warriors football games

It’s something he’s done for more than four decades, and he said the clocking isn’t ticking down on one of his favorite pastimes.

“I think I’ll be up there a few more years,” he said.

Recently, McVicker was recognized by the Ohio High School Athletic Association for his lengthy tenure operating the clock. It was an unexpected and humbling honor for a man that’s never sought the limelight.

“I didn’t know anything about it until they called me up,” he chuckled. “I don’t know why it happened. I was surprised. You feel good about it. But shoot, I didn’t need any recognition.”

McVicker has been a steady presence on Friday night’s ever since the Warriors first took the field in the late 1970s. Heck, he recalls football games prior to the formation of Trail — when Old Washington, Madison and Zane Trace were schools.

“It’s hard to keep them all straight,” he said when asked to recall some of his favorite memories.

That’s understandable. Although he only works, maybe, five or six Friday nights a season, the games have piled up.

McVicker recalls the less-than-posh accommodations afforded to him when he first started doing the job prior to the constriction of Trail’s current digs.

“There were no bleachers and no press box,” he said. ” I remember sitting on a bail of hay.

“Then, the first press box we had you had to take a ladder to get up to it.”

McVicker laughs about it now. But back then it sure presented challenges.

These days, technology makes it a bit easier to keep the clock. Overall, though, the job is mainly the same.

“It’s something I just enjoy doing,” he said. “It helps me keep my attention on the game.”

McVicker’s roots run deep in Guernsey County, long before Buckeye Trail was born. A longtime resident of Quaker City, he spent nearly 30 years as an educator in the East Guernsey district, mostly as an administrator. Mrs. McVicker also carved out a lengthy teaching career in the district, too.

Along the way, the couple raised three boys, all of whom went through the system and played sports.

“We’ve been involved in sports here it seems like forever,” McVicker said.

One of the benefits of keeping the clock, according to McVicker, is it keeps him in touch with the youth of the community, many of whom had parents who were taught or administered under McVicker’s watch.

“It’s very interesting,” the Ohio University grad who got his masters at West Virginia University, said. “I’ll probably continue to do it.”

If you know of someone in sports in the Ohio Valley whom I could feature as an Ohio Valley Unsung Hero, drop me a line at rthorp@timesleaderonline.com or via Twitter @RickThorp1