William C. Grant; Sports Editor For Washington Post's Web Site

By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 16, 2007

William C. Grant, 53, the indefatigable and innovative sports editor of washingtonpost.com, died of complications of melanoma March 15 at Georgetown University Hospital. He lived in Silver Spring.

Mr. Grant joined The Washington Post's Web site in 1996, bringing his experience at three newspapers, his sharp news judgment, his creative problem-solving and his sense of visuals to the Web.

Described by colleagues as dynamic and popular, Mr. Grant became the Web site's sports editor in 1997. He determined that the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, deserved comprehensive, in-depth online coverage that went beyond what was in the print version of The Washington Post. His work, which was then unusual in the new-media world, became the basis for washingtonpost.com's special reports on subsequent Olympics, the World Cup and politics.

Mr. Grant also directed the coverage of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City and 2004 Summer Games in Athens. From those cities, he wrote a daily column of musings and observations and invited readers to post comments -- becoming a blogger years before the term became popular.

"These efforts were typical of Bill's willingness to try all sorts of new ways to present journalism in this new medium," said Jim Brady, executive editor of the Web site, and Phil Bennett, the newspaper's managing editor, in a joint note to both staffs.

Brady called Mr. Grant "incredibly dedicated. Bill worked nine to whenever on weekdays, noon to whenever on weekends, and on Redskins game days, it was not uncommon for him to be here until four or five in the morning. He really loved this job."

Mr. Grant, who received his cancer diagnosis in August, worked until two weeks before his death.

William C. Grant, 53, broke ground at washingtonpost.com in his coverage of sports news.
William C. Grant, 53, broke ground at washingtonpost.com in his coverage of sports news.
He was born in Bethesda and grew up in Beltsville, where he graduated from High Point High School. At the University of South Carolina, he discovered a love of journalism, becoming editor of the college newspaper and a loyal alumnus of what he affectionately called "the real USC."

During his 30 years as a journalist, he worked at papers including the Wilmington News Journal in Delaware, the St. Petersburg Times in Florida and the Miami Herald. He spent most of those years as an editor and page designer, but occasionally he put his dry humor into writing, including a first-person account of his arrest for multiple parking tickets in Florida.

It was in Delaware that he met his wife, fellow journalist Tracy Grant, and they married in 1987. She is the editor of KidsPost in The Washington Post.

An enthusiastic photographer, Mr. Grant developed an archival system for family pictures that put the shoe-box system to shame. He loved golf and playing football, baseball and tennis with his wife and 11-year-old twin sons, Andrew and Christopher, at their cabin in West Virginia. But he didn't believe in letting the kids win to spare their feelings; his wife said he savored greatly his last big victory in a family poker game, winning $1.41.

In addition to his wife and sons, survivors include two sisters, Kathryn G. Mossy of Ijamsville and Anne G. Baugh of Greer, S.C.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company