There are many many articles out there today remembering Will McDonough. It’s almost like when someone dies in a huge family that doesn’t get together that often, or always see things eye to eye. The Boston Sports Media is that family, and McDonough was the Patriarch of this current group of media members. Differences are set aside and the remembrances come forth. The family comes together, and the tributes come forth:
From McDonough’s paper, the Boston Globe, Tom Mulvoy and Bill Griffith recall the life of a legend. There is also the Bob Duffy story that was on Boston.com yesterday, remembering his life. Bob Ryan remembers him not so much as a sports writer, but as the greatest sports reporter of all time. Dan Shaughnessy remembers how much Will meant to him, and suggests the Globe leave his cubicle empty, as he’ll never be replaced. Jackie MacMullan remembers the kindness and support that Will gave to her in a touching remembrance. Bill Griffith attempts to chronicle some of the countless tributes to McDonough on the airwaves yesterday.
At the Herald, Gerry Callahan is appreciative, knowing he likely owes his current economic status to Will. He blazed the trails and got the newspaper guys onto radio and TV. Callahan also remembers McDonough’s touch and treatment of the little people. George Kimball lauds Will as a fine friend and adversary over the 30 years they were both writing in Boston. Joe Fitzgerald remembers Will as the straight shooter with a soft touch, but who would’ve likely rolled his eyes and said “give me a break” at all the gushing on the radio yesterday. Michael O’Connor writes a tribute and remembrance to the life of Will.
At the Metrowest Daily News Lenny Megliola recalls that whether you agreed with him or not, Will was always a must-read. Gene Cassidy notes it as the end of an era in sports media in Boston. Will always knew what the real story was.
At the Patriot Ledger, one of the few other men to have been around since the beginning of the Patriots franchise, Ron Hobson remembers picking up Will to go on football road trips in the early 1960’s and also calls Will “perhaps the greatest competitor I have ever seen in sports”. This is one of the best articles of the day.
At the Providence Journal, sports editor Art Martone notes that Will’s greatness transcended Boston and that he defined sports Journalism. Bill Reynolds pays a brief tribute to Will in his Saturday column.
In the Hartford Courant, Alan Greenberg appreciates the greatness of McDonough and shares a number of football stories from over the years.
Mark Farinella recalls Will vouching for him at the 1986 Super Bowl.
After leading off with news that Tom Brady’s shoulder was inured for weeks, Bill Burt spends the rest of the article remembering McDonough. Burt confesses to choking when put on the spot by Will a couple years ago. He remembers foundly however, a number of compliments and favors received from Will.
In NH, Vin Sylvia pays tribute to McDonough in the Union Leader, knowing there is now a void that can never be filled.
Nationally there are also tributes. Most papers today are using the AP story, I suspect there will be more personal tributes to Will McDonough in the days to come from around the country. If you find some, send them along to me. For today there is Leonard Shapiro in the Washington Post. Larry Stewart in the Los Angeles Times. Jerry Magee in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
A few of the memories sent to me:
“Any Boston sports fan is feeling a great loss today. What made Will great was that every column he wrote was interesting and relevant. Whether he was posting information before anyone else had it, offering insight from some of his many contacts, or simply stating his opinion on an issue, I was always entertained and felt like I had learned something from reading his article. I was struck by something in Nick Cafardo’s appreciation piece on Boston.com, where he stated Sean McDonough has “He’s got the tough exterior, but a heart of gold, just like his dad.” I was lucky enough to meet Will on a few occasions, and saw both of these sides. I grew up in the neighborhood where Will lived. As everyone knows, 16-year olds out to have a good time and 56-year olds trying to get some sleep don’t always see eye to eye. Let’s just say that Will got angry with us once – and we made sure we never made him angry again. I saw the heart of gold a year later, when a high school friend’s father died unexpectedly. A fundraiser was organized for the family, and Will worked many hours to make sure it was a success. He must have called every contact he had and got sports memorabilia from them, which was auctioned off for the family, who Will had never met before. He was a true original and will be missed greatly.”
“Willie was the final authority on any story. How many times would a story or controversy break out on a Sunday, say, and build all week as the Globe columnists and writers took their shots until Will would present the definitive story on Saturday in his “here’s the real inside scoop” tone.
A good friend of mine in Hartford got swept up in the hysteria about the Patriots moving down there back in the 90s. After all the political proclamations and press adulation the cracks in the deal started to show, but my friend believed beyond any doubt that the team was coming down Route 84. That is until Will McDonough appeared in an interview on a Hartford TV station. When the reporter asked him about the deal, Willie laughed and said, “Haatford?!? HAAATFORD?? Let me tell you something, the Patriots are NOT coming to Hartford!” Once Will gave the word, you could almost sense an entire region lower its pompoms.”
“I had the pleasure of meeting Will during a charity golf tournament two summers ago for The Brain Tumor Society. We chatted a lot about the current state of the Boston teams, and even though he only knew me for a few minutes, he happily discussed how he put together that great article on the falling out of Parcells and Kraft in Feb. ’97. It was really intriguing to hear about it, and also to find out how hard he worked to get the complete story to the public. He just seemed to have that aura of knowing what was going on around him at all times. It was great to get to meet him.”
“My memory of McDonough:
It was in the media dining room at the hotel in Pittsburgh that housed most of the media covering last year’s AFC Championship Game. The Patriots had won and I had decided to eat first and write later. As I ate by myself in the rather large banquet room, the replay of the game was being replayed on a big screen TV. In walked McDonough.
He didn’t know me, but I obviously knew of him. He came up and introduced himself, grabbed some food and sat down and started to talk. For the replay of the entire first half it was non-stop Will. While I kept my mouth shut he related a variety of stories to just about every play shown on the T.V. It was fascinating. I found myself thinking that if I could have picked one person to analyze and dissect this moment, one of most prolific in the history of the Patriots, way up there on the list would be McDonough.
Some time later a few older writers from Cleveland and other cities wandered in, immediately wanting to the elicit the opinion of McDonough. Ironically, his parting words for those guys was not to forget to vote for Bill Parcells for the Hall of Fame.”