Friar Basketball

McNamara’s Departure Leaves Major Void

ProvJournal

A little more than a week has passed since Kevin McNamara announced via Twitter that he was leaving The Providence Journal after over 30 years with the paper. McNamara has covered all of the local professional teams in recent years, but he was unmistakably a college basketball guy. And a great one at that. He is passionate about the game, measured in his perspective, and respected across the industry. 

McNamara manned the Providence College hoops beat for nearly all of his 30 years at the Journal, and in the process became perhaps the most well-regarded journalist covering Big East basketball. 

The Journal’s decision continues an overhaul of its sports coverage that started over the past handful of years. Columnist Jim Donaldson wrapped up a 40-year career in the industry four years ago, Bill Reynolds announced his semi-retirement last year, while the outstanding hockey writer Mark Divver’s time with the paper ended in March 2019. 

McNamara’s departure leaves a gaping hole on the PC beat, and it is hard to imagine the Journal will find anyone that can ably fill the void left behind. Providence College is in the midst of an athletics revival, while the publication that was most capable of telling its story is left with a miniscule staff that will very likely be stretched thin.

Where does The Providence Journal go from here? Quite often, McNamara was the only representative of the Providence media when the Friars were on the road. If the Journal is not investing in McNamara, will they hire a replacement and send him/her on the road regularly? 

Options are somewhat limited in-house due to the size of the sports staff. Bill Koch has his hands full with the URI beat in the winter. Covering both the Friars and Rams would be a chore — and will almost certainly lead to scheduling conflicts throughout the winter. Perhaps the Projo would then lean on high school reporter Eric Rueb in instances in which Providence and URI are both scheduled. 

Maybe the Journal can replace the role, but they can’t replace the writer — not his experience, nor the relationships he had with coaches, administrators, Big East executives, and everyone who walked into PC’s media room. Make no mistake, this is terrible news for anyone who cares about Providence basketball. 

Kevin treated everyone with respect. I didn’t know him when starting Friarbasketball.com and he embraced me and this site in a way that far surpassed anything I could have expected. He was giving of his time, shared his perspective, and when he praised something you wrote or acknowledged it publicly it meant something. I learned a lot from just watching how he approached his job. I could not have been more disappointed when the news broke.

When that news did break, the response was overwhelming. His announcement on Twitter led to over 400 responses and well over 1,000 others acknowledging the news on the social media platform. I collected some of those that stood out below.

Kevin will be greatly missed.

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