A slow Boston day no longer. Will McDonough has passed away. Though I was critical of him this week, he was a true legend on the Boston media scene. He went out on top, right in the spotlight with his Lucchino episode. It turns out this week was almost a farewell tour, with his appearances on “Sports Final”, WEEI and WWZN.
WEEI has had Bob Lobel, Joe O’Donnell and others on to remember Will. If listeners could keep me updated on WEEI tributes, I’d appreciate it. I’m somewhere where I can’t get the station. I’ll post those updates. One listener said that “Listening to them talk about McD on EEI is very, very strange. Listening to people that he attacked on a regular basis saying nice things about him is also strange.” Later WEEI guest included Bill Parcells (Dale & Neumy) and Bob Kraft.
WWZN has had Leigh Montville on with Mike Adams and the Eddie Andelman show will be coming on the air at 10:00 rather than noon. Eddie feels strongly there should be an newspaper/electronic media award named after McDonough. He wants to get a campaign started to get the award off the ground. Red Auerbach was his guest at 10:00. He said he talked to Will yesterday about 5:00. Red sounded very down, and said he was “shocked” to hear the news. When they talked yesterday, they made plans to get together for chinese food later on in the month. Red said that Will was very approving of the new owners and had lunch with Wyc Grousbeck in the last few days.
Dan Shaughnessy and Mike Barnicle appeared. Shaughnessy talked about accountability. No one is accountable and accessable anymore for the things they write and say. Will always was. Barnicle and Shaughnessy talked about the Parcells/Kraft incident, and how that effected McDonough’s relationship with the Krafts.
Bob Lobel said that he loved working with Will, having him around. You had to tread carefully around him, that he was crusty, but he was the best. He idolized Will. Without question, he is the most important sports reporting figure that this town has ever had or will ever have. He wrote the book for journalism. He was a tough guy. His upbringing in South Boston served him well. He didn’t care what people thought, and that allows you to do anything in life. He had agendas, but all media members do. As close as Lobel and McDonough were, they never talked about John Harrington. Will spent two decades protecting Harrington. and Lobel revealed a conversation last year after the sale where Will said that “I protected that S.O.B. (Harrington) for twenty years and then he screws my friend Joe O’Donnell like this?” Will was loyal to Harrington, but is wasn’t returned and that pretty ended things with them. Lobel says McDonough was a fan…and wrote like one, he could sit back and consider the viewpoint of the fan. Wasn’t a humorist like Ray Fitzgerald, not a great writer like Leigh Montville, but had the great ability to write as a fan. McDonough had the confidence of two of the greatest coaches in Boston, Red Auerbach and Bill Parcells. Lobel liked to tease him. Talked about teasing him recently about Parcells taking the Dallas show and dumping Will and the radio show. He just can’t believe he’s dead. He was too tough to die.
Sean McDonough joined Eddie on the phone, He’s always been aware his whole life what a great man his father was, and they’ve been inundated with calls of support and how much he meant to everyone. There have been incredible tributes coming in. He had a great life with wonderful friends. He thanks all for their thoughts and kind words and support.
Frank Deford recalled breaking into the business and not being able to get anywhere with Red Aurerbach and others. All of a sudden they started talking to him. Will had told them that “the kid is alright” and that was enough. They trusted him after that.
NECN has been running tributes and clips of McDonough during its programming this morning, making it the lead story on its newscasts. Dan Shaughnessy also appeared here. Video is available at their web page.
Articles on McDonough have come out by Bill Griffith, Nick Cafardo, and Bob Duffy. Griffith’s article reveals that McDonough had just had a checkup and stress test yesterday at the hospital and checked out fine. Cafardo’s is a personal piece, while Duffy’s article is an extensive feature on the life of McDonough. Bill Simmons says farewell to Will.
Several people today have commented that they never saw him take a note. He remembered everything. Quotes, interviews, he kept it all in his head.
If you’d like to express your thoughts on Will McDonough, send them in, and if there is enough, I’ll make a page of them.