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New Scholarship to Honor Fallen Sportswriter

Widow, Friends Hope to Continue Terp’s Legacy to Students

By Alexander A. Pyles

John McNamara

Photo courtesy of The Capital/Baltimore Sun Media Group

John McNamara '83, shown holding the 2001 book "Cole Classics" that he co-wrote, will be honored with a new scholarship for undergraduates interested in pursuing careers in sports journalism.

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 yesterday for undergraduate students in 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.

“I’m so delighted,” she said yesterday at a signing ceremony. “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 said 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 said. “Teachers, students, journalists and staff in the athletics department remember John very, very fondly.”

The scholarship fund is accepting contributions. The first recipient will be selected next year.

McNamara's fourth book, with the working title “The Capital of Basketball,” a history of the sport in Washington, D.C., is expected out in early 2019.



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