President of the Loyola University Maryland Class of 1943, James McManus also served as Sports Editor for the student newspaper and as an assistant to famed Athletic Director Emil G. "Lefty" Reitz. His experience at Loyola led him to The Baltimore Sun as a reporter for two years before joining that organization's fledgling television station, WMAR-TV, in 1947. In television, James McManus found his true calling. He soon moved to New York to host a CBS variety show, where he remained until joining ABC as host of the popular "Wide World of Sports" in 1961.
"Wide World of Sports" gave James McManus the opportunity to explore the spectrum of the world's sporting events. In more than three decades with the program, he has traveled to 40 countries to cover sports as popular as golf and as unusual as barrel jumping. A member of the Television Hall of Fame, James McManus also has championed the sport of thoroughbred horse racing, covering the world's major races and founding The Maryland Million in his home state.
Too many, however, he is most vividly recalled for an event in which sports and news converged. His courage and professional leadership under the intense pressure of ABC's coverage of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, during which terrorists murdered Israeli athletes in the Olympic Village, earned him Emmy Awards for sports coverage and for news reporting, as well as the George Polk Memorial Award for Journalism and the Officer's Cross of the Legion of Merit from the West German Federal Republic.
Throughout his career, James McManus has maintained a close relationship with his alma mater, serving as a Trustee of the University and, with his wife Margaret, as chair of Loyola's leadership donor group, The John Early Society. He was awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, degree from Loyola in 1981.