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His colleagues at the Globe remember Will

Page 6 of 7 -- "Thank you very much," Will said, then drove off.

I was stunned. I'd seen Will part waters before, but a free ride on the Mass. Pike?

"I can't believe that one, Will," I said. "Tell me that's a first, please."

"It definitely is," Will said. And then he picked up where he left off on his story . . .
MARK BLAUDSCHUN, sportswriter

It was my first time covering a Celtics practice, and I was herded up to the balcony of the Brandeis gym with the rest of the press corps, a thick screen blocking our view of the team and court just below. I waited for nearly an hour, surprised by the Celtics' secrecy over a simple practice, but relieved that my colleagues from the Globe and competitors from the Herald and TV stations were equally isolated from the action.

All, that is, but Will.

As the practice wound down, a Celtics official drew back the enormous screen shielding players from press, revealing three men in suits sitting on the bench at courtside. There was Red Auerbach, the team president. Chris Ford, the coach. And Will McDonough, the sportswriter who never really was part of the sportswriting pack.

It was the perfect McDonough moment. He was working while we prattled. He was being enlightened by the brass while we were kept in the dark. He was treated like royalty, we like rabble. And, what mattered most, he got the real story while we got the scraps the Celtics deigned to feed us.
LARRY TYE, former sportswriter

The softball team has always been the Sports Department's best-kept secret. But Will knew about us, and every Friday during the season, Will would walk by the copy desk and ask, "How's the softball team doing?" It was never just a cursory question. Will really wanted to know. This season didn't start very promising, and Will would wince when we'd relay the details of another loss. The team got it together, however, and updating Will on our progress became more enjoyable. After we won the championship, Will stopped by the desk and listened to every detail - several times - of our playoff run. Will suggested the Globe buy us trophies or throw us a party "at the 600 Club - it'd be nice to have a winner in the park for a change." That didn't happen, of course, but in a gesture typical of his generosity, Will reached into his pocket and gave the team $500, which we used to get personalized shirts and bags to commemorate our win. Also typical of Will, he wanted it all kept on the QT. That was his style. Every time I pull on that shirt or pack that bag, I'll think of Will and his friendship. I miss Will now, but when the softball season comes around, I know the loss will hit home even more.
JIM McBRIDE, sports copy editor   Continued...

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