Colleagues bid McKay farewell

Former host of 'Wide World of Sports' remembered

BALTIMORE -- When Jim McKay traveled to St. Andrews in Scotland to cover the 2000 British Open, it was his final overseas event in more than 50 years of broadcasting.

Sportscaster Jim Nantz visited McKay in his tiny, sparse hotel room before the final round. He recalled that McKay wasn't emotional about the end of his career; he was upset about being away from his family.

"He longed to be home. That's all he wanted to talk about," Nantz said Tuesday at a funeral Mass for McKay. "He no longer had any appetite for the life of the lonely road warrior."

About 200 people filled the pews of the cavernous Cathedral of Mary Our Queen for the funeral of McKay, the venerable host of ABC's "Wide World of Sports" who died Saturday at 86 at his Maryland farm.

Relatives, friends and colleagues remembered McKay, born James Kenneth McManus, as a man who despite his globe-trotting TV persona longed for the simple pleasures of home and the company of his wife, Margaret, his son and daughter and his three grandchildren.

"He taught me how to drive a car and how to drive a golf ball," James Fontelieu, McKay's oldest grandson, said through tears. "He was my best friend."

Among those in attendance were NBC Olympics host Bob Costas, "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric and NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol.

"He's one of the greatest broadcasters in the history of the medium," Costas said. "Jim essentially created the role of the modern Olympic host. He set the standard."