COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland journalism school graduate John McNamara (’83), who covered Maryland Athletics for decades as a reporter for multiple local publications, was one of five employees of the Capital Gazette tragically killed Thursday afternoon in Annapolis.
McNamara honed his craft as a journalist as a member of the University of Maryland’s student-run newspaper, The Diamondback. In addition to working locally at other reporting organizations, he most recently spent more than 20 years with the Capital Gazette as a sports reporter. John was a staple of press row at Maryland basketball and football games.
“I think one of the things I found working with John was his love of the game of basketball,” said Hall of Fame basketball coach Gary Williams. “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.”
McNamara encapsulated the finest moments in Maryland’s athletic history in a pair of books. He wrote “The University of Maryland Football Vault: The History of the Terrapins,” which tracked the program from its first game in 1892 through the 2008 season. He also co-wrote “Cole Classics! Maryland Basketball’s Leading Men and Moments,” with David Elfin.
“John was the consummate professional. He continually mentored young journalists and showed them how to do things the right way,” said long-time Voice of the Terrapins, Johnny Holliday. “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.”
An excerpt from the Baltimore Sun noted that McNamara, who went by “Mac,” was remembered by his colleages for his flexibility, concise writing and extensive knowledge of regional sports.
“This is heartbreaking,” said Maryland basketball coach Mark Turgeon. “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.”
“John was a very professional, dedicated and serious journalist from word one,” said co-author of “Cole Classics” and long-time friend, David Elfin. “I would refer to him as a bull dog, old school. He was respected by all the coaches and players that he dealt with, and everybody knew he had a job to do and he did it well. He loved journalism, he loved the University of Maryland and he loved the Terps. He met his wife, Andrea, on the campus of Marlyand, so College Park will always be his place and he will be missed.”
McNamara will long be remembered by the Maryland Athletics family as a friend, an alum and a wonderful writer.