A few minutes into his job as emcee for Darcy Pohland's memorial service, WCCO anchor Don Shelby removed his pinstriped suit coat and slipped into a maroon-and-gold Gophers jacket.

"I'm wearing this because she hated seeing me in it," said Shelby, paying tribute to his longtime colleague, who died in her home on March 5 at 48. "She was mad that I didn't go to the University of Minnesota and thought I had no right to wear such a nice jacket. She wanted it."

Shelby, speaking from the set of "Macbeth" at the Guthrie Theater, was one of several friends who paid tribute to the reporter whose plucky optimism, dogged reporting and school spirit inspired hundreds of mourners to attend the ceremonies.

Music dominated the hour-plus service, including the reunited WCCO Blues Band joyously crooning "Under the Boardwalk," three young children leading the crowd through "Edelweiss," and the U marching band getting everyone up on their feet with the "Minnesota Rouser."

Childhood friend Lucy Stringer recalled the diving accident that forced Pohland to use a wheelchair, but that would lead her to becoming a role model for the disabled, while KMSP's Mim Davey Kessler fondly spoke of Pohland's love for the Gophers football team. She urged the crowd to listen to her friend's mantra: "This is going to be our year."

In a video piece filmed before her death, a reporter asked Pohland what she thought she might hear when she gets to the pearly gates.

"'It's you?'" Pohland replied. "'What are you doing here?'"

After Friday's tribute, the answer was obvious.

njustin@startribune.com • 612-673-7431