Dr. Frank Cyrus McCue III, the much loved and respected “Doc” who took care of University of Virginia athletes for more than 40 years, passed away Sunday, July 8. He was 82 years old.
Dr. McCue was a nationally-renowned orthopedic surgeon who specialized in reconstruction of the hand. He was one of the founding members of an organization of orthopedists and athletic trainers devoted to sports medicine. As a physician, Dr. McCue was a perfectionist who taught scores of young surgeons, including Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham, Ala., now the nation’s most prominent orthopedist. As a friend, he was loyal and steadfast. As a supporter of all U.Va. sports teams, he was incredibly passionate.
Dr. McCue, a native of Maxwelton, West Virginia, came to U.Va. in the fall of 1948 and, except for a two-year surgical residency in California, spent the rest of his life and career in Charlottesville. He received his undergraduate degree from U.Va. in 1952, graduated from U.Va. Medical School in 1956, did his surgical residency at U.Va. Hospital, then went to California to study hand surgery when it was still a small field of study and research. In 1961, he returned to U.Va. Hospital as a board-certified orthopedist and began his career taking care of Cavalier athletes.
Dr. McCue’s first love was football. He often took his summer vacation at a time he could attend pre-season practices in Charlottesville. In 1962, he began a 41-year partnership with Joe Gieck, U.Va.’s head athletic trainer who is now retired. U.Va. athletes who said the words “Doc and Joe” simply assumed their listeners knew whom they meant. In Atlantic Coast Conference football, “Doc and Joe” became known for their acidic critiques, from the sidelines, of game officials whose calls, or non-calls, offended them.
For a number of years in the 1960s, Dr. McCue also treated injured athletes from William and Mary, VMI and the University of Richmond before those schools had their own sports physicians. In addition, throughout his career in Charlottesville, Dr. McCue also treated hundreds of high school athletes from towns all over Central Virginia, frequently housing them at his home as they recovered from surgery. Many of these young athletes did not receive a bill for Dr. McCue’s services.
In 1991, U.Va.’s athletic department opened a new administration building and named it for Dr. McCue. The McCue Society, made up of former colleagues, fellows, trainers, students and friends, was formed in 1987 and funds sports medicine scholarships for U.Va.’s undergraduates and graduate students. The Virginia High School Coaches Association gives an annual sports medicine award in Dr. McCue’s honor. The Virginia Football Alumni Club made Dr. McCue the first winner of its highest honor, the Order of Crossed Sabres. Among his outside interests, Dr. McCue was a former board member of Jefferson National Bank in Charlottesville.
Dr. McCue retired in 2003 and was named professor emeritus of orthopedic surgery at U.Va. Hospital. In his last years, he remained close to the U.Va. athletic scene. He was a frequent visitor at football practice.
Dr. McCue was predeceased by his brothers, Dr. Davis A. McCue and William Cameron McCue. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Nancy Nestor McCue, his son Frank Joseph McCue of Charlottesville, his daughter, Marylyle, her husband Jordan Reiter and his grandson Nissim Reiter of Philadelphia.
There will be two visitations with Dr. McCue’s family. The first will be from 6 to 8 p.m., Saturday, July 21, at Teague Funeral Home, 2260 Ivy Road, Charlottesville 22903. The second will be from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, July 22, at Teague Funeral Home. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, Dr. McCue’s family suggests that a donation be made to the UVA Fund, designating the gift for the McCue Athletic Training Department Fund. The address is P.O. Box 400314, Charlottesville, VA 22904.