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WILL MCDONOUGH | 1935-2003

Globe's McDonough dies at 67

Will McDonough, a sports reporter and columnist for The Boston Globe for 41 years whose byline made readers sit up and take notice, died of a heart attack at his home in Hingham on Thursday night. He was 67.

For those legions who follow sports in Boston, across New England, and around the nation, the name Will McDonough above a story signaled that reliable, and often exclusive, news was coming along. In-depth information, gleaned from countless sources on the street, on the field, in the clubhouse, and in executive offices, and laced with perspective - about players, teams, officials, games, corporations, and fans - was the grit from which Will McDonough fashioned his stories. He prided himself on delivering news that counted - ''scoops,'' as traditional journalistic parlance has it - in the simplest of words. To an editor who once asked if he could ''beef up'' the prose on a particular story, he asked: ''Do you want adjectives, or information?''

Will McDonough was of Boston, make no mistake. His world view screened out shades of gray; he saw things as right or wrong, a sense derived from his growing-up days in the Old Colony Project (and St. Augustine's Parish) in South Boston, a tribal whirl of street-corner life and sports. Born in July 1935, he kept an oar in the waters of his native neighborhood all his life despite his move to Hingham early in his Globe career. Few knew better than he the whos, whats, wheres, whys, and hows of life in South Boston from the 1940s to the present. He was an acquaintance of numerous celebrated - and infamous - sons of ''Southie'' and to his last day supported in words and deed those whom he called friends. And these friends returned the favor when Reporter McDonough called on them to help with a story.

When Mr. McDonough retired as a member of the Globe's staff in 2001 (he kept his hand in by writing a freelance column for the paper after that) he told well-wishers that he figured he had written more words for the Globe than anyone else in its history. It was an assertion that no one challenged, given the asserter.

The McDonough byline first appeared in the Globe in the late 1950s when he was a student at Northeastern working as a co-op in the sports department, mostly covering school sports. He had been a three-sport player at English High School, but injuries pushed him to the sidelines, and, eventually, to the press box. It did not take him long to get his reporter's feet on the ground when he was hired onto the Globe Staff shortly after his graduation from college; he covered whatever was thrown at him and always delivered on time. It was in 1960, when he was a regular on the Red Sox and Celtics beats as well as on college campuses, that Mr. McDonough took on the assignment that over the next 40 years distinguished his name in sports journalism: coverage of the fledgling Boston Patriots, and a complicated companion story, the new American Football League's challenge to the National Football League.   Continued...

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