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A prayer for Van McKenzie

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Dave Kindred, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    One of the great sports editors of our times, Van McKenzie, is in his final hours at home in Orlando. He changed my life for the better twice. He always said his goal was to create a sports department that could run without him. In that, he failed -- because even when he wasn't there, when he was off eating Mexican or playing poker or Otherwise Being Our Van, he was there in the spirit of a newspaperman who loved the business, loved its people, and came to work every day with enthusiasm, ideas, and dreams. Every sports department he ever ran was filled with Van McKenzie's spirit, no matter where the big man himself happened to be. Last time I saw him, he said words I'd never heard from anyone, let alone a sports editor. "I love sportswriters," he said. We who were lucky enough to have been in his presence could not help but love him.
  2. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Dave, that's simply awful news. One of my favorite people ever in the business; I never worked with him, but I was around him alot professionally at APSE and things, and socially some as well, and I know things he did at places like the AJC had a profound effect on how other sports editors put out their sections.

    He's one of the big ones, with Smith, Doria, Dwyre and a handful of others, and the best sports sections ever have been produced under their watch.

    And he's a very cool guy to hang out with as well.

    Thoughts with Van, his co-workers and family.
  3. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Sad, sad, sad.

    Few people in the business command the respect and adoration he so richly deserves...everyone should have the chance to work for a man like Van McKenzie....someone who so deeply loves what he does, and makes everyone around him better.

    Will keep good thoughts and prayers for him and his family. Thanks for letting us know.....
  4. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    The greatest innovator Sports Sections have ever seen.
    Equally, a good man.
  5. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    he was only at the n.y. daily news briefly, but everyone understtod he was the brains behind the operation while he was, not the hick above him.

    hard to find anyone who doesn't like and respect van.

  6. Aw, goddamn it anyway.
  7. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    That made me cry.
  8. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    I can hear that in my head...
  9. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I went to the dog track with Van once, and he looked at a race and said, "The one dog's going to come out and take the lead, and he's going to pull the three and the four with him, and then the four's going to pass them both in the stretch, and it's going to finish 4-3-1."

    That's exactly what happened, and I said, "Van, you must have made a lot of money on that," and he said, "Naw, I changed it at the window."

    He also ran a pretty famous Sunday sports section cover of Uga III or Uga IV lying on its back, about six columns. She/he was just playing, but she/he had her eyes closed and looked like she/he was playing dead, and that was the lead art to a particularly odorous Georgia loss with a huge headline. One of the best sports covers I ever saw -- and not anything close to an action photo from the game in the lead spot.
  10. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Actually, now my recollection was that the headline was:

    Belly up

    Long time ago, could be wrong, but that's what I remember.
  11. Patrick_Obley

    Patrick_Obley New Member

    Van is a spectacular fellow, a fine human being. His battle with cancer all these years has been nothing short of inspirational and courageous. There are few people in this business these days that make you feel so darn proud of what we do. Godspeed, Van McKenzie.
  12. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    One of the best in this business...

    Van is old school and I couldn't mean that as a bigger compliment...
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