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W. Grimsley, 88; Sports Reporter, Columnist

November 05, 2002|From Associated Press

Will Grimsley, who covered the spectrum of sports for four decades as a reporter, columnist and special correspondent for the Associated Press, has died. He was 88.

Grimsley, who retired in 1984, died Thursday of heart failure in East Meadow, N.Y.

Grimsley's byline was one of the best known in sports as he reported for nearly half a century from the world's biggest athletic events, including 15 Olympics, 35 World Series and 25 Kentucky Derbies.

Born in Monterey, Tenn., Grimsley joined the sports staff of the Evening Tennessean at 18 and became sports editor and columnist for the paper in 1935. Grimsley was hired by the Associated Press at Memphis in 1943 and was transferred to New York as a sports writer in 1947.

In 1969, he was named a special correspondent, one of a handful of Associated Press writers and the only one in sports to carry that title.

Eight years later, in 1977, "Grimsley's Sports World" made its debut as a five-day-a-week column that gave afternoon newspapers a versatile look at the world Grimsley occupied. Sometimes it was a mood piece, sometimes it was analytical and sometimes it was a profile of a sports personality. Grimsley specialized in golf, tennis, college football and the Olympics, and he regularly covered the Indianapolis 500, the Super Bowl, the Masters and Wimbledon.

Survivors include a daughter, Nellie B. Grimsley; and a son, William Kelly Grimsley.

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