BUCKHANNON – The Record Delta newspaper lost a friend last Friday. I lost that same friend last Friday as well.
Kevin Materne, who was a member of our Fearless Football Forecast, lost his two-year battle with lung cancer after a valiant battle against it last Friday afternoon.
I first met Kevin in 1998 when he was a member of The Record Delta advertising team and I had just joined the company as the assistant sports editor under Jim Warner.
Kevin and I immediately hit it off, talking sports at all levels.
Just for fun, Kevin and I would put a dollar bet on the weekly NFL games and college bowl games. I must admit that I won more than I lost but Kevin always came back the next week looking for revenge.
After seeing Kevin at work, I would usually see him at Buckhannon-Upshur basketball games as he was there supporting his nephew Ryan Koury and talking golf with then Buckhannon-Upshur golf coach and the basketball scorekeeper Bob Cupp.
Kevin would move on from the Delta, but he will still return once a week to talk sports with me with a visitor, his little bundle of joy Grace, his first child with his wife Beth.
Eventually I would move on from the Delta to work in the Communication Department at West Virginia Wesleyan.
The visits would no longer be once a week, but Kevin still stopped by to talk sports and life with another bundle of joy this time, his son Garrett.
Our families would become friends as well as our children would go trick-or-treating together when they were younger, and we would make our way up to PNC Park a couple of times to catch Pirate games.
Our wives wound up becoming closer friends as co-workers at Buckhannon Academy Elementary and band parents at the high school over time more so that Kevin and me.
When I returned to the Delta full-time in the summer of 2018, even though he wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t getting out that much, he stopped by the office to welcome me back to my new job. That was just the type of person Kevin was.
When we had an opening mid-way through the Fearless Football Forecast season in the fall of 2018, Kevin was a logical choice for me to select with his time at The Record Delta and as a salesperson at Number 1 Auto, our sponsor for the Fearless Football Forecast.
He came right in and won that season having a better winning percentage than I or Shea Phillips, the sales manager at Number One Auto and one of the prognosticators of our contest.
This past season, I took a big lead in the Forecast standings only to have Kevin come back tie me in the final week of the season.
When I asked Kevin if he wanted to do a tiebreaker week to decide a winner his response was, “A tie is good with me. I want to give you a chance to save face.”
Typical Kevin. It was also the last text I would receive from him.
It was my hope that adding Kevin to our little game here would be a diversion for him, albeit a very small one. I hope it was.
God Speed Kevin, you will be missed.
If anyone would like to donate in Kevin’s memory, they may do so by sending it to WV Hospice, 6 Hartman Plaza, Buckhannon, WV.