A Cochranville resident, George Heaslip was a towering
figure in the local sports scene for a quarter century, which included
an eight-year stint as the sports information director at Cheyney University
up until his death in 1992 at age 70. And even though it's been 20
years since his passing, Heaslip's daughter Sandy Heaslip Duli, said that
her father would have been thrilled to be inducted into the Chester County
Sports Hall of Fame along with so many of the local legends he covered.
"When they started the hall of fame (in 2008), I knew it would be just a
matter of time before my father was inducted," said Heaslip Duli, who
lives in West Chester. "I still have coaches come up to me all the time and
tell me the impact he had."
Much like the way reporters of the golden age of print media are now portrayed, Heaslip was a real-life,
chain-smoking, hard-boiled newsman. After tiny Immaculata College captured the 1972 women's basketball
national championship, Heaslip wrote: "One thing, for sure. They're going to have to change that nickname.
No more "Macs." How about "The Mighty Macs'?"
The nickname stuck, is still used today, and was the title of a 2009 motion picture. He also gave Coatesville
basketball coach Ross Kershey "The Silver Fox" monicker.
"He liked coming up with nicknames to connect his readers with the people he was covering," Heaslip Duli
explained. "Part of it was that he was in that Madmen era of advertising. Before getting into the newspaper
business, he was a Vice President of Marketing at a firm in New York City."
A First Lieutenant in the Twin Dragons Fighter Squadron during World War II, Heaslip attended Kent State
through assistance from the GI Bill. He later moved to Chester County in the 1967, where he served as the
director of public relations for Rush Hospital (now Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital) in Malvern.
Whether it was Chaney, Pennsylvania Governor Ray Shafer (1967-71) or former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower,
Heaslip had many famous friends. And when he took over his duties at the Daily Local News in 1968,
it didn't take readers long to discover that Heaslip was a local treasure and, eventually, a journalistic institution.
"My Dad wrote an article the day I was born in 1971," Heaslip Duli chuckled. "It said, "Pardon me if I am a
little flustered but my daughter was born this morning." I still have the newspaper clip."
Over the next 17 years, Heaslip became an important and respected storyteller and archivist of Chester County
athletics. He was such a giant among the press corps covering West Chester State football and Cheyney State
basketball that in 1989 the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference unveiled a yearly award that bears his
name. The George Heaslip Award recognizes a media professional for his or her meritorious service while
covering the PSAC's student-athletes, coaches and teams.
"It was a completely different era when he was sports editor," Heaslip Duli pointed out. "My Dad would go
to the bars and meet a lot of the coaches he covered. The Courtyard Inn was one of his favorites. He'd have a
beer with them, of course he'd be smoking a cigarette, and he would get the inside scoop on their teams. Then
he would go back to the Daily Local and write his stories.
"He felt near and dear to Chester County, especially in the 1970's when women's college basketball around
here was doing so well. He was one of the few people that covered those teams.
"He told me how Vivian (Stringer) and John (Chaney's) teams used to practice together. He thought that was
the greatest, and when both of them went on to big-time programs, nobody else knew their stats and bios. I
remember he got phone calls from people all over the country to get the scoop. My Dad loved that."
Heaslip was the author of books on Johnny Bench and Wilt Chamberlain, and was inducted into Cheyney Hall
of Fame in November of 1992, just one week before his untimely death.
"Carol Eckman was such a quality person," said former WCU Athletic Director Dick Yoder. "The girls
loved her and played very hard for her. She was one of the leaders on the national level and yet very