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An overpowering absence

Page 3 of 6 -- There is talk of having some sort of a memorial service there or at the annual owners meetings in March that Browne claims McDonough was the first to ever cover full time.

This year, there will be a hundred or more writing stiffs standing in the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel outside of Phoenix trying to buttonhole some owner or general manager for a tidbit of information between closed-door meetings. It's a good place to see and be seen, and a lot of information changes hands that week, so McDonough will be missed there as well, though not in the hotel lobby. The only time he would be seen there was passing through with his tennis racket to go play with some GM who wouldn't even nod at the rest of us or with his golf clubs on the way to a round with a couple of coaches who would generally rather use their clubs on the rest of us.

If there is a service at those meetings, there's really only one place to do it. On the tee box at No. 7 or maybe the green at 18, where McDonough most often could be found pocketing a few dollars from some unsuspecting coach or GM while pocketing a lot of information as well.

"He wanted to win at everything, but he could handle it if it didn't happen," recalled Tom Coughlin, former coach of Boston College and the Jacksonville Jaguars who is in the running to take over the Cincinnati Bengals. "He was always coaching you. I remember we were partners once at some golf tournament and he says to me after a few holes, `Get off the steroids, will you, and just swing easy and we've got a chance to win this thing.' He always had that needle out.

"He was athletic as hell. He had a unique swing that worked for him, whether it was on the golf course or doing his job. A lot of times he was doing both at once. No matter what was happening, he was always under control. He stayed within himself. You'd outdrive him by 50 or 75 yards and at the end he'd have a 5 and you'd have a 6 and he'd say, `Get off the steroids and relax.'

"Will had a way of taking a shot at you the same time he was taking a glass of your wine. I remember he came down one year, it was 1996 or 1997. He was staying with us and we were out on some boat on the Intercoastal having a glass of wine. He looks at the bottle and says, `Yeah, 1997, that was a good year.' He's on a free boat, drinking free wine and taking a shot at the guy handing him the bottle. I loved that about him."   Continued...

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