McDonough dead at 67
Popular Boston Globe columnist covered every Super BowlPosted: Friday January 10, 2003 9:33 AM
Updated: Friday January 10, 2003 5:51 PM
BOSTON (AP) -- Will McDonough, a sports writer and columnist who worked for The Boston Globe for more than 40 years and covered every Super Bowl, died at 67.
He died late Thursday at his home in Hingham while watching sports news on TV, said Don Skwar, the Globe's sports editor.
The cause of death had not yet been determined, although McDonough had heart problems and battled thyroid cancer in the late 1990s. He had a heart attack in 1990 and another one last month, but appeared fine following tests Thursday at Massachusetts General Hospital, spokeswoman Georgia Peirce said.
McDonough retired from the newspaper two years ago but continued to write a weekly column for the Globe.
He wrote about the NFL for more than 30 years, covering the first Super Bowl in 1967.
"Will loved all sports and sports people," said Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, a former New England Patriots coach. "He loved his family. He was a real pro, a confidant, and a man you enjoyed being around."
Patriots owner Bob Kraft called him an "institution, not only in Boston, but in the world of sports journalism. He was a larger than life reporter who, by the power of his pen, changed the way sports are covered."
McDonough frequently railed about the large salaries paid to pro athletes and how such money transformed sports.
In recent weeks, McDonough criticized Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino, who lives in California, for not being in Boston enough, calling him "the invisible director of baseball." Lucchino shot back, saying McDonough should stick to covering football.
On Friday, Lucchino said McDonough made an "enduring contribution to the sports world in Boston."
McDonough became nationally known through his work for CBS and NBC in the 1980s and 1990s, winning an Emmy along with NFL Live co-hosts O.J. Simpson and Bob Costas. CBS hired McDonough in 1986 for The NFL Today.
"He was the best reporter of sports I ever worked with," said Globe sports writer Dan Shaughnessy. "He had better connections, better sources -- he was the ultimate newspaper man."
McDonough started at the Globe as an intern through a Northeastern University program, calling it the "luckiest break I ever got in my life." Early in his career, he was a beat writer, covering the Red Sox and Celtics.
McDonough was born on July 6, 1935, the youngest of nine children of Irish immigrants. He grew up in the working-class neighborhood of South Boston.
Former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn said McDonough helped young athletes from the neighborhood by introducing them to his college contacts.
"He never forgot where he came from," Flynn said. "He'd call these young people up and say, 'Hey, kid, I was watching you play. I think you could play for a Division I college football team.'"
One of McDonough's sons, Sean, is a national sports commentator and play-by-play announcer. Another son, Terry, is a Baltimore Ravens scout and has been in the NFL for 13 years.
He also is survived by wife Denise, daughters Cara and Erin and son Ryan.