The Gowdy family name is well-known in the United States, especially in the fields of sports broadcasting and politics. Curt Gowdy was a legendary sportscaster who covered many iconic events and games in American sports history. Trey Gowdy is a former congressman and federal prosecutor who gained fame for his role in the Benghazi investigation and his sharp questioning skills. But are these two prominent figures related to each other? And what is the origin and meaning of their surname? In this article, we will explore the answers to these questions and more.
The Origin and Meaning of Gowdy
According to Ancestry.com1, the Gowdy surname is derived from the Gaelic word “gobha”, which means “smith” or “metalworker”. The name is common in Scotland and Ireland, where it has various spellings, such as Goudie, Goudy, Gowdie, Gowie, and Gowy. The name may also be a variant of Goldie or Goldy, which are derived from the Old English word “gold”, meaning “gold” or “yellow”. The name may have been given to someone with blond hair or a bright complexion.
The Gowdy family crest features a blacksmith’s hammer and anvil, symbolizing the occupation of the original bearers of the name. The motto of the Gowdy family is “Audaces fortuna juvat”, which means “Fortune favors the bold” in Latin.
The Life and Career of Curt Gowdy
Curtis Edward Gowdy was born on July 31, 1919, in Green River, Wyoming. He grew up in Cheyenne, where he excelled in basketball and tennis. He graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1942 with a degree in business statistics. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, but was medically discharged due to a back injury.
Gowdy began his broadcasting career in 1943, calling high school football games in Cheyenne. He moved to Oklahoma City in 1945, where he covered college football and basketball for KOMA radio. In 1949, he was hired by CBS to work in New York, where he became the play-by-play announcer for the New York Yankees and the New York Giants.
In 1951, Gowdy joined NBC, where he would spend most of his career. He became the lead announcer for the network’s baseball coverage, calling 13 World Series and 16 All-Star Games. He also covered other sports, such as football, basketball, golf, tennis, boxing, horse racing, and fishing. He was known for his smooth and versatile voice, his enthusiasm and excitement, and his ability to describe the action with vivid details.
Some of the memorable events that Gowdy covered include:
- The first Super Bowl in 1967
- The “Heidi Game” in 1968
- The “Immaculate Reception” in 1972
- The “Thrilla in Manila” in 1975
- The “Miracle on Ice” in 1980
- The “Pine Tar Incident” in 1983
Gowdy also hosted several TV shows, such as The American Sportsman, The Baseball World of Joe Garagiola, and NBC SportsWorld. He won numerous awards and honors for his work, such as:
- The Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984
- The Pete Rozelle Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986
- The Curt Gowdy Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990
- The Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1992
- The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame induction in 1994
- The Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame induction in 1995
Gowdy died on February 20, 2006, at the age of 86, due to leukemia. He was survived by his wife Jerre Dawkins, whom he married in 1949, and their three children: Curt Jr., Cheryl Ann, and Trevor.
The Life and Career of Trey Gowdy
Harold Watson “Trey” Gowdy III was born on August 22, 1964, in Greenville, South Carolina. He is the son of Harold Watson Gowdy Jr., a physician, and Novalene Evans Gowdy. He graduated from Spartanburg High School in 1982 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Baylor University in 1986. He then obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1989.
Gowdy began his legal career as a clerk for Judge John P. Gardner on the South Carolina Court of Appeals. He then worked as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina from 1994 to 2000. He handled cases involving drug trafficking, bank robbery, child pornography, and domestic violence. He also received the Postal Inspector’s Award for the successful prosecution of J. Mark Allen, one of the most notorious child predators in South Carolina history.
In 2000, Gowdy was elected as the solicitor (district attorney) for the Seventh Judicial Circuit, which comprises Spartanburg and Cherokee counties. He was re-elected in 2004 and 2008. As a solicitor, he led an office of 25 attorneys and 65 staff members. He prosecuted some of the most high-profile cases in the state, such as:
- The murder of Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Carper by Terry Brooks in 2007
- The murder of Milliken executive Frank Black Jr. by his wife Karen Black in 2008
- The murder of four people at the Superbike Motorsports shop by Todd Kohlhepp in 2003
Gowdy also implemented several programs to improve the criminal justice system, such as:
- The Drug Court Program, which provides treatment and supervision for non-violent drug offenders
- The Worthless Check Program, which helps businesses recover losses from bad checks
- The Violence Against Women Program, which assists victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault
In 2010, Gowdy ran for the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina’s 4th congressional district, challenging incumbent Bob Inglis in the Republican primary. He defeated Inglis in a runoff election with 70% of the vote. He then won the general election with 63% of the vote. He was re-elected in 2012, 2014, and 2016.
As a congressman, Gowdy served on several committees, such as:
- The House Judiciary Committee
- The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
- The House Ethics Committee
- The House Intelligence Committee
He also chaired two special committees:
- The House Select Committee on Benghazi, which investigated the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens
- The House Select Committee on Events Surrounding the 2016 Terrorist Attack in Orlando, which examined the response and prevention efforts related to the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub that killed 49 people and injured 53 others
Gowdy became known for his aggressive and eloquent questioning of witnesses and officials during hearings and investigations. He often clashed with Democrats and members of the Obama administration over issues such as:
- The IRS targeting scandal
- The Fast and Furious operation
- The Hillary Clinton email controversy
- The FBI’s handling of the Russia probe
Gowdy also supported several bills and policies that reflected his conservative views, such as:
- The Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2011, which proposed a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution
- The REINS Act of 2011, which required congressional approval for major regulations issued by federal agencies
- The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act of 2013, which banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy
- The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which allowed people with valid concealed carry permits to carry firearms across state lines
On January 31, 2018, Gowdy announced that he would not seek re-election in 2018 and that he intended to pursue a legal career instead of politics. He said that he enjoyed public service but not politics and that he missed the courtroom.
After leaving Congress in January 2019, Gowdy rejoined his former law firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough as a partner. He also became a contributor for Fox News as a political analyst and commentator. In early 2021, he served as an interim host of Fox News Primetime. In May of that year, he was named host of Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy.
Gowdy is married to Terri Dillard Gowdy, a former school teacher and Miss Spartanburg pageant winner. They have two children: Watson and Abigail.
Are Curt Gowdy and Trey Gowdy Related?
The short answer is no. Curt Gowdy and Trey Gowdy are not related by blood or marriage. They share a common surname but have different ancestry and genealogy.
According to Ancestry.com, Curt Gowdy’s paternal grandfather was John William Gowdy, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1869 to Irish immigrants James Gowdy and Mary Ann McLaughlin. Curt Gowdy’s paternal grandmother was Mary Elizabeth Smith, who was born in Illinois in 1875 to German immigrants John Smith and Elizabeth Schaefer.
Trey Gowdy’s paternal grandfather was Harold Watson Gowdy Sr., who was born in South Carolina in 1915 to American parents William Henry Gowdy and Lula Mae Watson. Trey Gowdy’s paternal grandmother was Mary Frances Jones, who was born