I still can’t believe Mackin is gone.
It’s been nearly a month since Jeff McIntyre died, and I find myself thinking about him — or about something he loved — nearly every day. Like those old SNL clips of Will Ferrell playing Harry Caray (note this site’s tag line about hot dogs). Or the rice and beans from Popeyes. “Best you’ll ever have,” he used to say.
Mackin died after a short, but valiant, battle with cancer, leaving behind a wife, two children, and two grandsons he absolutely adored. Mackin was my Assistant Sports Editor at the Florence (Ala.) TimesDaily from 2006-09. He covered our alma mater, the University of North Alabama, for two decades.
The day I heard about his diagnosis, maybe early May, I booked my flight to Alabama. Sadly, he passed away a few days before my trip. It still crushes me that I never got a chance to say goodbye. I did, however, get a chance to spend some time with a few old friends and co-workers. We shared stories about Mackin and agreed that newsroom was probably the best work atmosphere we’ll ever experience. We laughed, we bickered, we laughed some more, and we put out a product we were always (almost always?) proud of. You can’t ask for much more than that.
My job was to design and edit the sports section, and I’ve posted some of my old cover designs below. Mackin and ol’ Julio (our sports editor) always gave me the freedom to take chances, make mistakes, and get a little wacky with my designs, something for which I’ll forever be grateful. Every now and then, I’d catch Mackin trying to mimic some of my designs on those rare nights he laid out pages.
What an honor that was.