OTC: Cancer Claims KC Sports Commission President, Kevin Gray – Dead At 51

“Kevin Gray was diagnosed with metastatic cancer in March. He was enjoying the Big 12 basketball tournaments, walking between the women’s events in Municipal Auditorium and the men’s games at the Sprint Center when he discovered a pain in his hip. A week or so later, as he set out on a two-block trip from the NAIA tournament at Municipal back to the Sports Commission office on Pennsylvania Avenue, the pain intensified and made it impossible to walk.”
Blair Kerkhoff, on the death of Gray, the longtime President of the Kansas City Sports Commission, Kansas City Star
GH: Gray was 51. Man, cancer can be cruel. Three months ago Gray was doing the same stuff you and I spend our lives concerned with; kids, work, your 401K, the Royals farm system, the price of gas, etc. Today his family is planning his funeral. Do what you can to enjoy what time you have left. Everyone of us will very likely go before we are ready.


“For those who don’t know Kevin Gray, he played a role in every single endeavor to bring sporting events/teams/venues to KC. Godspeed. Kevin Gray, KC Sports Commission President who passed away, embodied the ideals of his Rockhurst High School education – ‘Men for Others.’ ”
Brad Porter, Metro Sports, Twitter
GH: I met Gray years ago and had a working relationship with him the past 15 years. He was an incredibly nice guy. Too nice I thought at times for the job he held. In a cutthroat business of attracting major sporting events to his town, he was a calm, smiling influence to everyone around him.

“He was a force unto himself; a very enthusiastic cheerleader and tireless leader for the Kansas City sports community. Kevin’s list of accomplishments is long and well documented and yet he was as proud of our kid’s sports camps as he was of leading the campaign to build the Sprint Center. His friends, associates and the Kansas City community have lost an inspirational leader and he will be dearly missed.”
Kansas City Sports Commission official press release

“I’ll never forget working w Kevin to get the (Sprint) arena built. We had a ton of fun and even caused a little trouble along the way! will miss him.”
Bob Fescoe, Twitter
GH: You won’t find a lot of people who didn’t like Kevin Gray. I don’t think I ever saw the guy without a smile or a positive word.

“The death of Kevin Gray from cancer, announced today, is a big blow to Kansas City. Gray was a passionate president of the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission. During the years I interviewed him, Gray was always working on the next big project for the city. And he succeeded so often. … Gray knew sports was important in keeping Kansas City a major league city. But he also had other interests. He knew what was going on in the world of Kansas City politics, for instance, and he was especially interested in making sure the mayor and City Council members paid attention to the needs of neighborhoods. Kevin Gray was a true civic leader, and he will be sorely missed.”
Yael Abouhalkah, columnist, KansasCity.com

“Unbelievable loss.”
Curtis Kitchen, Twitter

[email protected] and Twitter / greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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4 Responses to OTC: Cancer Claims KC Sports Commission President, Kevin Gray – Dead At 51

  1. JS says:

    I didn’t know Kevin Gray but every interview I ever heard him do was so upbeat about KC and what was happening. He will be missed. Prayers out to his family and friends.

  2. KCPRGuy says:

    Wow, very sad. Had no idea he was even sick. Makes the huge project I’m losing sleep over at work seem a tad, oh I don’t know, meaningless perhaps?

  3. Ken Corum says:

    Compared to other big sports movers and shakers here in town, I only had a cup of coffee with Kevin in recent years in working with him and the Sports Commission. As a former high school volleyball coach in the area, Cindy Smith and Kevin called on me to help with events such the MSHSAA state volleyball tournament and the NCAA volleyball national championship at Sprint Center last year. Even though it wasn’t the Big 12 tournament or trying to get the Super Bowl here, Kevin and the Sports Commission approached these events with the same intensity, passion and drive along with such a strong focus on building up Kansas City as a great sports town. My condolences to his family, as well as the large Sports Commission family he created.

  4. Ptolemy says:

    Well stated GH about the need to enjoy the time we have. I didn’t know Kevin Gray other than what you heard from him on TV or radio but it was all high class, positive, and can-do, even during difficult issues. Rest in peace.

    It also points to the little discussed notion that life is too short to spend any of it sorting through your trash. Don’t recycle – throw it away!
    Thank you.

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