To the editor:
Our Lehigh Family experienced a great loss when a special member of our family, Dean McNew passed away unexpectedly on July 15. Dean was an employee and coach here at Lehigh, a dear friend, and made a tremendous impact in the lives of our youth.
He leaves a wonderful legacy; he was awarded the Hometown Hero award from the Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres. He and his wife, Dawn McNew, our current varsity boys basketball coach, coached several sports together over the years both here and in the state of Indiana and have had much success to include a girls basketball state championship in Indiana. Dean also coached Dawn's travel softball team for many years and won a World Series Championship, a National Championship, and several State Championships.
He was the Eastern Vice President for USSSA for many years placing him in charge of softball in the 17 northeastern states. He was awarded a certificate from Governor King of Massachusetts for his work with the Special Olympics, The Heart Association and Easter Seals, received a Civil Service Medal and the Massachusetts House of Representatives proclaimed a "Dean McNew Day" for his work with the youth .
In 1980 Dean was inducted into the USSSA Hall Of Fame as an umpire, inducted into the New England USSSA Hall of Fame as an umpire and director, and in 1990 traveled to Russia to help introduce softball to the country so that softball and baseball could become Olympic sports. He and his wife Dawn met on the trip as Dawn also made the trip as a member of Team USA. He then traveled to Sweden the following year to introduce softball to help keep the Olympic dream alive.
Dean was also a veteran. He retired from the U.S. Army where he was a Green Beret, Special Forces Airborne, and also was a diplomatic courier. He won the Horkan Award twice while at Fort Lee, Virginia, received two Bronze Stars, was the Athlete of the year twice, won the Commanding General's Trophy for coaching or playing in all 14 sports, and in 1972 was selected the top athlete in the U.S. Army and sent to the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany as an observer. Dean was a pitcher for the All Army Softball Team retiring with a record of 399 wins and 33 losses. He accomplished all of this even though he was blind in one eye.
After serving his country for 20 years, Dean served as a sergeant for the Virginia Sherrif's department and then moved to southern Illinois where he ran a boot camp for troubled teens between the ages of 13 and 19 who were trying to find a way to escape from gang life.
Dean had spent the past 10 years here at Lehigh Senior where he continued to influence the lives of our youth. Anyone who has had the pleasure to have met Dean, understands the blessing we were all given. He was a man of great strength, a tremendous heart, an incredible sense of humor and truly lived life to its fullest, filling each of our lives along the way.
He lead by example, made a lasting impression on everyone he touched, and those who came in contact with Dean are better for it. Dean had an uplifting personality second to none and lived out a philosophy of we are all here to love and be loved and to make others happy and be happy. Mission accomplished Mr. McNew.
There is a memorial website for Mr. McNew on Facebook. Please feel free to check it out and share memories and pictures of Dean. (Donald McNew Memorial Page) September 14, our first home football game, is designated as Dean McNew night and we will be remembering and honoring his legacy.
Lehigh Senior has established an athletic scholarship in Dean's name and we ask for those interested in contributing to contact the athletic office or you can make checks or money orders payable to: Dean McNew Athletic Scholarship Fund, Lehigh Senior High School, 901 Gunnery Rd.
LSHS Athletic Office