An honors graduate from Kent State University School of Journalism, McCoy has won 43 Ohio and national writing awards and was the first non-Cincinnati newsperson elected to the Cincinnati Journalists Hall of Fame. Hal has been the Cincinnati BBWAA Chapter Chair 22 times and was the BBWAA national president in 1997. He is the third writer from the Dayton Daily News honored, joining Si Burick (1982) and Ritter Collett (1991).
McCoy has covered the Cincinnati Reds for 32 years, the longest tenure of any current beat writer on one team. He has averaged 155 games covered per year over three decades, in addition to six weeks of spring training and full post-season coverage. McCoy has covered more than 5,560 games, 900 spring training games and 500 post-season games, missing only one assigned game due to illness. He also writes a daily notebook, a column three times a week, a Sunday notebook year round and a weekly "Ask Hal" column that answers reader questions.
McCoy was in the forefront of the Pete Rose investigation, breaking many stories during the 1989 season while also covering the Reds on a daily basis.