Dan Hellie knew early in life what he wanted to do for a living.
His plan was formed in eighth grade when he spent a career day shadowing a television producer at WUSA-TV and interviewing former longtime area sportscaster Glenn Brenner. His passion continued at Col. Zadok Magruder High School, where Hellie spent countless hours reading sports articles in the school library.
“Everyone thought it was crazy,” said Hellie, who now is a sports anchor and producer for WRC-TV. “I think when I finally came home six years ago and started working there, no one was really surprised.”
Hellie, a University of Tennessee graduate, will be honored by his high school (Class of 1993) alma mater on Oct. 26 at the homecoming football game against Watkins Mill. He will be inducted into Magruder’s Athletic Hall of Fame along with Reggie Smith, Mark Ridgway, Kathleen Mulholland, Kate Finn and George Bachtell.
Mulholland was surprised by the news. Just a year ago, she completed her 21st and final season as the school’s field hockey coach. She coached the Colonels to five region championships, four county championships and one state championship. She also coached the softball team from 1999-2003.
“I had great kids,” said Mulholland, who still teaches in Magruder’s art department. “I wouldn’t change anything. It was a good 20 years.”
Playing under Mulholland, Finn (‘99) was an All-Gazette selection for field hockey and soccer in 1997 and 1998. She played field hockey at American University and was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year in 2002.
Smith (’03) played football, wrestling and baseball. He boxed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he received national recognition during his final three years and won the National Collegiate Boxing Championship in 2006 at 185 pounds. In 2011, he was awarded a Bronze Star while serving in Afghanistan.
Ridgway (’77) competed in track and played football. He set two individual school records — in the 330-yard hurdles and long jump — and was part of two relay records — the 440-yard and mile. He was an All-County track athlete in 1976 and 1977, and took third place at the 1977 Maryland Decathlon.
Bachtell, a social studies teacher at Magruder from 1997-2012, also said he was pleasantly surprised by his nomination. Starting in 2002, he began taking photographs for the school at athletic events. He also was the webmaster for eight years.
After college, Hellie worked in Minnesota, South Carolina and Florida before returning to work in Washington, D.C.
He played football, basketball and baseball for the Colonels, but said he wasn’t the best player on his teams. Now that he’s back in the area, he attends Magruder basketball games and visits the school that helped him become who he is now.
“The coolest thing is being able to go to Magruder, becoming friends with the players and getting excited when one gets a scholarship to [George Washington] or somewhere else,” Hellie said. “Those are the guys that I root for.”