John McNamara was one of five employees of the Capital Gazette who lost their lives in a tragic shooting at the Annapolis newspaper’s office last week. In the days following his death, the Maryland sports community remembered McNamara as a passionate authority on the Terps.
McNamara, who was 56, covered Maryland sports first for The Diamondback as a student, then later in various roles as the Prince George’s Journal and the Gazette. He wrote two books on Maryland sports, “Cole Classics!: Maryland Basketball’s Leading Men and Moments” and “University of Maryland Football Vault: The History of the Terrapins.”
In the Capital Gazette, McNamara’s sports-section coworker of two decades, Billy Wagner, detailed the newsman’s never-ending relationship with the Terps, as well as with the coworkers who spent late nights in his office.
John and I worked together in the sports department for more than two decades. We sat side-by-side in the Maryland Stadium press box and courtside at Cole Field House countless times. We teamed up to cover Baltimore Orioles playoff games and Maryland basketball appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
When Maryland advanced to the Final Four in 2001 and 2002, John and I were dispatched to Minneapolis and Atlanta to report on events. John handled the previews and game coverage while I wrote the color stories that focused on the atmosphere, scene and fan experience.
As longtime Maryland basketball fans, we silently rejoiced when the great 2002 team captured the only national championship in program history.
The Maryland basketball program remembered McNamara as well, starting with Gary Williams:
“I think one of the things I found working with John was his love of the game of basketball. Sure he was a reporter, but he just enjoyed watching games and I really enjoyed getting to know him from that angle. John was one of those reporters you could trust and for that he was always welcome in the Maryland basketball circle. I remember in 2010 in Spokane walking with John and you could tell he had a real joy for his profession. Maryland is a special place and John happened to attend during a special time when there was Cole Field House and Lefty Driesell. Guys like John truly appreciated every moment of their job.”
Johnny Holliday, the longtime voice of Maryland sports:
“John was the consummate professional. He continually mentored young journalists and showed them how to do things the right way. He covered the Terrapins and loved Maryland basketball. We would drive home from Washington Nationals games together. He had such a gentle way about him and everyone loved him. May John and those that lost their lives rest in peace, and I send my thoughts and prayers to his wife, Andrea, and his family.”
Terps basketball coach Mark Turgeon:
“This is heartbreaking. I always enjoyed my conversations with John. He was very fair, thorough and professional. He loved and supported Maryland. I remember meeting him and he was just so welcoming to me from day one. He informed our community and fanbase with his great stories and strong knowledge of our athletics programs. My thoughts continue to be with his family and friends.”
WTOP’s Dave Johnson remembered McNamara as “a friend to all who read him or had the pleasure to meet him.”
Connor Letourneau, now a sports reporter at the San Fransisco Chronicle, met McNamara while serving as a student reporter:
“He took a real vested interest in me. He was the epitome of the type of veteran sportswriter you want to meet when you’re coming up.”
John McNamara, you’ll be missed.
In other news
The Gazette collected some of McNamara’s work here.
The owner of the Capital Gazette has created a fund for the families, victims and survivors of the shooting, as well as a memorial scholarship for journalism students.
The biggest NBA news of the weekend: Kevin Huerter has officially signed his contract with the Atlanta Hawks.
Damon Evans says hall of fame trainer Rod Walters will “look at us from top to bottom” as he investigates Jordan McNair’s death.
Yep, there were Maryland commits in the Under Armour lacrosse All-American game.
Our friends at College Crosse have the recaps from both games.
And last but not least, we have a Maryland track alert: