Funeral services were held today for Cougar Club executive director Dale McCann, who played an instrumental role in BYU sports' rise to national prominence.
McCann served in BYU's athletic booster organization for 24 years, up until he died March 31 of cancer. He was 57.Among McCann's accomplishments were the creation of the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame, the annual awards banquet and various fund-raising programs. During his tenure, he saw Cougar Stadium expanded to 65,000 seats, the BYU football team win a national championship, Ty Detmer receive the Heisman Trophy and the Cougars play in their first-ever New Year's Day bowl game.
McCann's hard work behind the scenes over the years made the job of BYU football coach LaVell Edwards easier.
"The Cougar Club got off to a pretty good start, but when Dale took over, it leaped forward light years," said Edwards. "He was just a guy who had a great vision and work ethic. He made a big difference. He was just tremendous in terms of the programs he started and the amount of money raised. He helped us immeasurably."
Those who worked with McCann will remember him not only for his service to BYU, but also for his devotion to his wife, Andrea, their 10 children and his LDS Church-related responsibilities.
"Dale was one of the warmest, hardest-working people I've ever met," said Mike Middleton, assistant director of the Cougar Club. "Personal sacrifice for his family, church and Brigham Young University were hallmarks of his life. His impact on BYU athletics will be felt for generations to come."
Middleton said since McCann's death, the Cougar Club offices have been flooded with phone calls and messages from people from across the country offering their condolences.
Scott Runia, currently serving as the national president of the Cougar Club, first met McCann when he came to BYU as a freshman basketball player in 1976.
"He's been Mr. Cougar Club around here," said Runia. "He was a very nice, kind man. Ever since I was recruited to play here, I've known him as the man who ran the Cougar Club. He had a vision to represent the church well. We're all very sad at his passing. He's left us a great legacy."