Schwartz Award winner and Greenlee grad Kevin Cooney to retire

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Kevin Cooney will step down as Senior Anchor for KCCI television on Nov. 24, 2015, after four decades of service.

Cooney started his television career as a studio floor director in 1969 at KRNT-TV (now KCCI) while he was in high school. During college in the early 1970s, Cooney worked for the sports and news departments at Channel 8, landing a full-time position in the newsroom in 1974 after his graduation from Iowa State University.

Cooney reported human interest stories for several years in his Kevin Cooney Covers Iowa segments. He left the station in 1980 for San Jose, CA, to be with his then fiancée Mollie Smith, who also had worked at KCCI. Together, they co-anchored weekend newscasts for San Jose station KNTV. They returned to KCCI in 1982, when Kevin began anchoring and producing the 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts with Paul Rhoades and Russ Van Dyke. He’s been at the anchor desk ever since.

“From covering Iowa as the epicenter of national politics every four years to sharing local stories important to all, serving Iowans in my current role has always been both a pleasure and an honor,” Cooney said.

Cooney has been recognized with the Jack Shelley Award, given to leading broadcast journalists in Iowa and named for his former ISU journalism professor, and the James Schwartz Award from Iowa State University. In 2014, Cooney and his wife Mollie were both inducted into the Silver Circle, a lifetime achievement award from the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

"Kevin’s influence in the broadcast industry is well-documented; however, new faculty and staff may not realize how he influenced the Greenlee School’s transition to digital media," Michael Bugeja, Director of the Greenlee School, said. "Kevin also espoused ethical values long associated with the Greenlee School, including a work ethic learned from Greenlee instructor and broadcast icon Jack Shelley."

Cooney is an Iowa native, born in the Beaverdale neighborhood of Des Moines, and raised by two journalists — Jim and Pat Cooney — who spent their careers with the Des Moines Register & Tribune.