Longtime sportswriter John McNamara ’83 was a stealth mentor, often agreeing in his low-key way to meet over lunch or chat on the phone with student journalists or fledgling sports reporters.
It was a familiar role: “Johnny Mac,” as he was known, had been elevating the prose and professionalism of his peers since he was a reporter and editor at The Diamondback.
McNamara’s loss as a mentor and authority on Terps sports, which he covered for more than 20 years, is keenly felt since he and four colleagues were killed in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis on June 28.
But he’ll continue to inspire sports journalists at the University of Maryland through a new scholarship established for undergraduate students interested in that field at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
McNamara’s widow, Andrea Chamblee ’83, whom he met at The Diamondback, and several of his friends created the scholarship in his memory. The first recipient will be selected next year.
“I’m so delighted,” she says. “It would have meant the world to John to be remembered as a sportswriter and a mentor to students. He often told me how much he enjoyed meeting with his colleagues, and helping them, but I am struck that he didn’t think of those meetings as mentoring anyone, but clearly the people he met with, did.”
Merrill College Dean Lucy A. Dalglish says she was grateful for the opportunity to help students who might otherwise struggle to pay tuition, while also honoring McNamara.
“Walking around campus, I’m struck by how many people remember John,” Dalglish says. “Teachers, students, journalists and staff in the athletics department remember John very, very fondly.”
McNamara’s fourth book, with the working title “The Capital of Basketball,” a history of the sport in Washington, D.C., will be released in early 2019.