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Veteran sports reporter Jack Falla is dead at 62

Boston University College of Communication journalism professor Jack Falla, a sports writer and author of several fiction and non-fiction books, died of a heart attack Sunday in Maine. He was 62.
Falla, a 1967 COM alumnus, wrote for Sports Illustrated and Hockey Magazine before returning to BU to teach sports journalism 17 years ago, Patrick Falla, his brother, said.
‘He hung in there, even with all the books that he had, he stayed in the trenches with the kids,’ he said.
BU journalism professor Frank Shorr said Falla’s ‘lust for life’ rubbed off on his students.
‘They all loved listening to his war stories,’ he said. ‘He was always on the go, he was always doing something. He was the kind of guy who could never sit still.”
Hockey was Falla’s main focus and the subject matter for most of his professional work. His love extended to the outdoor hockey rink he built in his backyard 25 years ago. Known as the Bacon Street Omni, the rink is the basis for his book, Home Ice.
‘He would have you in and lace-up your skates at the kitchen table and walk right out,’ Boston Globe sports writer Kevin Dupont said. ‘The word passion is so overused now, but there was no question about his love of being out on skates and playing it, watching it, reporting it, writing it [and] teaching how to write it.’
Falla’s experience and enthusiasm made his classes inspiring, COM senior Joy Tesensky said.
‘I’ve been going back and forth about whether I wanted to do journalism as a career, and his classes put my faith back in the profession,’ Tesensky said. ‘I could see myself going into journalism again.
‘He was so completely down-to-earth, like a professor for the students, not for the school,’ she continued. ‘You really got the feeling that he’d go to bat for you on anything.’
Falla often supported his students by using his connections in the sports world to help them after college, 2008 COM graduate Elizabeth Fierman said.
‘He made it a goal in his life to have a whole network of his students to succeed him in aspects of communication,’ she said. ‘He helped me get the job I have now and opened up a lot of doors for me.’
Falla wrote five books, one as fiction and another as a collection of essays, journalism department Chairman Lou Ureneck said.
COM senior Liz Molloy said Falla would often discuss the writing process with the class.
‘He would tell us about how he would get ideas in the middle of the night and he used his tissue box next to his bed to scribble notes on,’ she said.
Falla arranged for his class to start at 8 a.m. to guarantee the same passion from his students as he had for sports journalism, Molloy said. Though demanding, Falla enjoyed sharing aspects of his life with his students.’
‘On Thursdays, we talk about the big sporting events to watch on the weekend,’ Molloy said. ‘He was talking about how this Saturday was his granddaughter’s first soccer game.’
Besides his brother Patrick, Falla is survived by his wife Barbara, son Brian, daughter Tracy Fontaine, two grandchildren and sister Elizabeth Vello.’
A wake will be held Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the George F. Doherty and Sons Funeral Home in Wellesley. The funeral will take place Thursday at 9 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Parish in Natick.

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