by Ralph Routon
Lee Douglas, sports director of KOAA Channel 5 and a fixture in the Colorado Springs/Pueblo media scene for the past four decades, died Sunday at 57, according to the station’s website in this report posted online.
Douglas, a 1973 graduate of Pueblo Centennial High School, had been KOAA’s sports director since 2000, but his association with Channel 5 dated to 1979. He graduated from the University of Southern Colorado (now Colorado State University-Pueblo) with a communications degree in 1977.
Lee Douglas actually was his media name. His real name was Douglas Lee Cooley.
Rob Quirk, longtime Channel 5 news anchor, posted this on Facebook: “We were informed this morning from his closest friends that Lee passed away overnight. He was hospitalized on Saturday and suffered kidney failure."
Later, in another post, Quirk said: ”His laugh was infectious, his smile could light up a room. On this Super Bowl Sunday, we honor your hard work and dedication … RIP my friend."
Through the years, Douglas always was known for his enthusiastic dedication to local and Olympic sports. He kept up religiously with the area high schools as well as colleges in both Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Since 2004, he also had worked as color analyst for Air Force football radio broadcasts.
But some of his finest work came in profiling athletes from the Olympic Training Center or with ties to Colorado Springs leading into each Olympiad.
Douglas had another passion — music. Since finishing high school, he spent most of the past 40 years as a DJ on Pueblo stations, endearing himself to a large audience for playing oldies at night.
Among his many honors were back-to-back first places in the Independent’s Best Of Colorado Springs for best TV sportscaster in 2007 and 2008. He also was inducted in 2005 into the Greater Pueblo Sports Association Hall of Fame.
KOAA plans a tribute to Douglas during a special 9:30 p.m. newscast after NBC’s coverage of the Super Bowl.