Steve “Magic” McCann has been a fixture in Creston for years, dating all the way back to his high school years when he was involved in many different activities at Creston High School.
After graduating from CHS in 1967, McCann returned to the community in 1971 after he graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, and proceeded to make an impact on both the community and CHS.
A Hall of Famer already as an Iowa High School Athletic Association official, McCann will add another honor to the list this week when he is inducted into the Creston Community High School Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony 7 p.m. Thursday in the CCHS auditorium, prior to the crowning of the 2018 homecoming queen.
McCann was nominated as both a distinguished alumni and a distinguished contributor, showing just how much of an impact he has had in his time at and interactions with CCHS.
“I was totally surprised and, at the same time, honored to be part of such a special group of individuals currently in the Hall of Fame,” McCann said.
“He’s a Creston guy all the way,” Creston Community Middle School Principal Brad Baker said. “He just embeds himself not only in Creston schools, but also into the community. I think that’s exactly what our Hall of Fame is looking for, is people who return home and try to make Creston better.”
High school years
Largely known around the area these days as a respected athletics official, McCann was well-rounded during his four years at Creston Community High School from 1963 to 1967.
McCann played basketball all four years of high school and ran track two years, but broke his foot early during his senior season of track.
In addition, he participated in chorus all four years of high school and was the lead in four class plays.
“I really enjoyed doing that. The two big ones were ‘The Unsuspected’ was our junior class play and ‘Brother Goose’ was our senior class play. I only remember because my sister still calls me Brother Goose to this day,” McCann said with a laugh.
He also participated in Creston High School’s first school musical production in 1967 – a production of “Bye Bye Birdie.”
In participating in the musical and class plays, McCann said he learned better memorization and responsibility.
“Just memorizing the lines and being around people and trying to coordinate 8 to 10 people to put together a production that was worth seeing,” he said. “It was exciting. ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ has a big cast when you put the chorus with it.”
McCann was named CHS Thespian of the Year in both 1966 and 1967.
“Thespian wasn’t huge at that time, but that’s a big honor,” McCann said. “I really enjoyed acting and the thespian is actor of the year – it meant quite a bit, especially to have it two years in a row.”
McCann and his wife, Jane, still support the fine arts department at Creston Community High School to this day. They try to attend the musical every year.
McCann said it’s fun for him to go back each year to attend the musical, especially when the production is “Bye Bye Birdie,” which has been performed several times since that first production in 1967.
Returning to Creston
After graduating from CHS in 1967, McCann attended Southwestern Community College for two years, where he earned his associate degree and played basketball for one year and served as student body president for one year.
Then, he went to Creighton University in Omaha, studying biology.
Upon graduating from Creighton, McCann returned home to Creston to farm with his father, Gene, east of Creston.
“I had only been home about two weeks and ran into Leonard Kuhre, who was actually my high school principal and at that time was director of adult continuing education at Southwestern,” McCann said. “He asked if I would be interested in working evenings at Southwestern a few hours a week. I jumped at the opportunity. It was a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of that with him.”
That eventually led to nine years of McCann working as adult education coordinator at Southwestern Community College.
Following Gene’s death in 1980, McCann returned to the family farm, where he farmed from 1980 until 1989 on what is currently Twelve Mile Lake.
“It teaches you a lot of responsibility – just responsibility and timeliness, as far as milking the cows, harvesting the crops,” McCann said about farming.
In 1987, McCann lost 900 acres of his farm to the development of Twelve Mile Lake. At the time, he was looking for something to do other than farming since he didn’t have enough farmland left.
“I always thought I would like to be in retail and meet people,” he said.
Eventually, he purchased Family Shoe Store and has owned and operated the business for the past 29 years.
“At that time, I definitely didn’t think it would be that long,” McCann said. “It took about 6-7 years to build up the inventory to where I felt like I had a substantial inventory to offer anyone from dress casual to work to athletic shoes. It’s been a very successful business for Jane and I and our family for probably the last nine years.”
“I really like the fact he saw an opportunity here,” Baker said. “He made Creston his home, raised great kids and wanted to raise his kids in Creston. That’s what we need. We need people to come back.”
McCann has been a lifetime member of Creston Elks Lodge #605, where he has served as scholarship chairman for 35 years and on the youth activities committee for 25 years.
Additionally, McCann has been actively involved in the booster club over the years and was named the Dan Harris Volunteer of the Year in 2007 by the booster club.
“He’s gave his whole entire life to the Creston community and to Creston Schools,” said Creston Community School District Special Education Instructional Coach Larry McNutt, who has known McCann for about 30 years. “I know he was always very active in the booster club. He’s a frequent spectator at many athletic events and different activities. He donates to a lot of different programs and activities at school.”
McCann has been a registered athletics official since 1971, officiating both football and boys basketball for 47 years, girls basketball 46 years, softball 40 years and baseball 30 years.
“I think it’s an opportunity to serve the people and the students of the area schools and to help them understand the game and rules and learn how to play the game correctly,” McCann said.
In 2012, McCann was inducted into the IHSAA Athletic Officials Hall of Fame.
McCann said there are currently nine people from Creston in the Officials Hall of Fame and, at one time or another, he has worked with all of them.
Officiating for so many years in the area, McCann has made connections with many students throughout the years.
“He is definitely a fan favorite. For example, I did a softball game with him last year and the Diagonal softball team wanted their picture taken with him after the game,” McNutt said. “I think that sums that up. He’s officiating kids who he’s officiated with their parents and, in some cases, he’s officiated their grandparents. I think people enjoy having him around. He’s definitely a people person and the socialization part is something he enjoys.”
After previously being inducted into the Officials Hall of Fame, McCann said finding out he had been selected for the CCHS Hall of Fame was “icing on the cake.” He is looking forward to sharing the moment with his family – wife of 43 years, Jane, children Kyle and wife Maggie, Kristen and husband Justin and Kari and husband Jeramy, along with his six grandchildren.
“It will be a great honor to be there,” McCann said. “Hopefully my family will all be there and share the special moment of going into the Creston Community High School Hall of Fame.”