Vaughn McClure, a member of ESPN’s NFL coverage team since 2013, died this week at his home near Atlanta. He was 48.
McClure joined ESPN to cover the NFL, and settled in on the Atlanta Falcons beat as part of NFL Nation. He covered the team during its run to Super Bowl LI in 2017. He contributed to ESPN’s television and radio coverage of the Falcons and NFL as well.
“We all loved Vaughn,” said John Pluym, senior deputy editor for digital NFL coverage at ESPN. “He had a heart of gold. He was so helpful to our reporters. In the last few hours, we’ve heard so many stories about how Vaughn had helped them with a story or how he put in a good word for them with a coach or player.”
Pluym added: “Talking to Vaughn on the phone was always a joy. I loved how you could just sense the excitement in his voice for being able to cover the Falcons for ESPN. We will all miss him greatly. And I’ll end this the way Vaughn ended every phone call with a colleague: ‘Appreciate you. Love you.’ We all loved him, too.”
McClure came to ESPN after covering the Bears for the Chicago Tribune six seasons.
“People will probably remember how Vaughn was able to connect and develop trusting relationships with many of the athletes he covered, or how diligent he was about deadlines, or the countless times he volunteered to help out a colleague on another sport,” said Patricia Mays, senior director of content strategy and distribution at ESPN, who brought McClure to the company. “But what I respected most was how committed he was to continually improving. One of the last emails I received from him was asking for feedback. He wrote: ‘Would love to talk to you after the season about how I can get better at a lot of things. I want to be great at this job.’ “
Among his other assignments at the Tribune was covering the Bulls in the postseason. Previously, he covered Notre Dame football for the Chicago Sun-Times and Fresno State basketball for the Fresno Bee. He also worked at the South Bend Tribune and DeKalb Daily Chronicle.
McClure graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1994 and was a Chicago native.