Bob Ryan

Bob Ryan

Robert P. Ryan (born February 21, 1946 in Trenton, New Jersey) is a longtime [ [ Bio] at which uses the word "longtime" to describe the length of his tenure at the "Globe"] columnist for the "Boston Globe" and a sports talk show host on the New England Sports Network. He has been described as a basketball guru [Dan Shaughnessy, Bill Simmons, and many others] and is well known for his coverage of the sport including his famous stories covering the Boston Celtics in the 1970s. After graduating from Boston College, Ryan started as a sports intern for the "Globe" on the same day as Peter [ article] ] He is well known for his stuttering voice and has said of it "I don't like my own voice – in fact I hate it." [ interview] ]

Biography and career

Personal background

Ryan is a history major from Boston College (class of 1968). He went to high school at The Lawrenceville School from 1960 to 1964. He and his wife Elaine have a daughter Jessica, and a son Keith who died in 2008. They are grandparents of triplets. They have been married since 1969. Today Ryan lives in Hingham, [ interview] ] The dedication page in "Forty Eight Minutes", one of Ryan's books, says, "To Elaine Ryan: In the next life, maybe you'll get a nine-to-five man who makes seven figures." Ryan has also done humanitarian fundraisers for years to help inner-city teenagers with their educations.

Son's death

On January 28, 2008 his 37 year old son Keith, was found dead in his home in Islamabad, Pakistan. Initial reports indicated that his death was an apparent suicide, however reports in the Pakistani newspapers Dawn and The News International indicated that Ryan's death may be investigated as a murder. A State Department spokesperson would only say the death was under investigation. [cite web | url = | title = Reports vary on cause of diplomat's death |author=Megan Woolhouse |work = Boston Globe | date = 2008-01-30 | accessdate = 2008-01-30 ] Bob Ryan released the following statement: "Everyone is devastated. I am well aware of these reports and we are very concerned about that. (But) we have no reason at this time to doubt the official version". [cite web | url = | title = Heartbroken columnist doubts report of son’s murder |author=Mike Underwood |work = Boston Herald | date = 2008-01-30 | accessdate = 2008-01-30 ]

Keith had been working in Pakistan since December 2006 as an attache for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Keith was a graduate of Hingham High School, Trinity College, the London School of Economics and Boston College Law School. He had previously worked for the U.S. Border Patrol and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, where he was assigned to the violent gang task force. Keith was married to Kate (Moriarty) and had three children, Conor, John, and Amelia, who live in Silver Spring, Maryland. [cite web | url =| title = US diplomat, son of Globe columnist, found dead in Pakistan |work = Boston Globe | date = 2008-01-29 | accessdate = 2008-01-29] [cite web | url =| title = Hingham native found dead in Pakistan; Diplomat was son of Globe columnist |work = Patriot Ledger | date = 2008-01-29 | accessdate = 2008-01-29 ] [cite web | url = | title = Keith Ryan, at 37; attaché for US Customs in Pakistan |author=Bryan Marquard |work = Boston Globe | date = 2008-01-29 | accessdate = 2008-01-29 ]

Celtics beat writer

In the fall of 1969 a vacancy on the "Globe"'s Celtics beat was created, and Ryan got the job. While covering the Celtics, Ryan developed a close relationship with the Celtics organization. Ryan would even go out to dinner with the [ article] ] Ryan sat at the press table 8 seats from the Celtics' bench, where colleagues referred to him as the "Commissioner", not unlike Peter Gammons's nickname. Boston Sports Media critic Bruce Allen [Of [] ] has said, "his passion is not faked." [ [ Post] on [] , "10 people whose work I enjoy in the Boston Sports Media", Ryan is included on the list, also included fellow sports columnist at the "Globe" Jackie MacMullan]

One night Hue Hollins, the referee, went to the press table to explain a call to Ryan during a time-out even though he was not obligated to. Another time Ryan wrote a column about the Washington Bullets' Rick Mahorn and how he played dirty under the hoop. When Mahorn was called for a foul Gene Shue, the Bullets' coach, turned around and said, "that's your fault, Bob Ryan, your fault!" Dennis Johnson was often annoyed with Ryan and would go up to the press table and say, "hey, Bob, keep it down. We got a game going on here" when Ryan sideline coached. ["Ever Green" by Dan Shaughnessy, p. 46-7] From Ryan's first column on Larry Bird headlined "Celtics draft Bird for oh what a future" to his last "Larry! Larry! Larry!" Ryan was always a fan of his and eventually co-authored a book with him. ["Boston Globe" June 10, 1976 and February 25, 1993]

In Tom (Tommy) Heinsohn's book "Give 'em the Hook", Heinsohn is negative towards Ryan. Ryan, who began writing for the "Globe" in Heinsohn's rookie season as a coach, would make friends with the players and vent their feelings towards Heinsohn, their fans, and their teammates, claims Heinsohn. Heinsohn didn't like how he didn't feel in control of his team. Heinsohn believes that Ryan started to "think of himself as another member of the family" and that he even started coaching the team through his beat stories. Heinsohn goes on to talk about Ryan's bloated ego and the fact that he was then thinking of himself as a basketball guru. Heinsohn also says while noting disapproval of Ryan that at the time anyone who lived in Boston and even remotely followed basketball read Bob Ryan. ["Give Em' the Hook" by Tom Heinsohn, Joe Fitzgerald] In recent years Ryan has been less critical of Celtics coaches, including Doc Rivers, of whom he said, "I'm a Doc guy."

General sports columnist

In 1982 Ryan would hand the torch of the "Globe" Celtics beat to then-not well known Dan Shaughnessy, and later Jackie MacMullan. He did this in order to go to WCVB for a couple of years. Ryan ended up hating it and moved back to the Celtics beat in 1984 for two more seasons before getting promoted to general sports columnist in 1989. [A [ bio] of him on a page of one of his books]

Ryan would cover 20 NBA finals, 20 Final Fours, 9 World Series, five Super Bowls, the last 7 Olympics and many other events. In recent times Ryan has become less basketball-oriented and more general sports-oriented. He has also written for the "Basketball Times". Bob votes for the Baseball Hall of Fame. [ [ Column] in the Boston Globe, 11/28/06]


* Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Journalism recipient in 2006.
* In 1997, Ryan won the Curt Gowdy Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame.
* In 2000 he was the AP National Sportswriter of the Year.
* In 2008 he was the NSSA’s National Sportswriter of the Year.
* He is also a member of the College Basketball Writers and New England Basketball Halls of Fame.


At 60, Ryan wants his retirement from the job to be graceful: "I’m not bitter. I enjoy my job and I still think I do it well, but they are chipping away, chipping away and they are making it far less pleasurable. I want to get out when I feel like getting out. If you stay around too long, there is no way you can dictate your terms", he said. Ryan also asked, "How do you explain to Stephen A. Smith that he has no idea of the game and how much fun it was? He thinks he knows everything, but he will never know what I know about the Celtics." [ article] ]

Television and radio work

Globe 10.0

On June 26, 2007 Bob Ryan's show, Globe 10.0 made its premiere on the New England Sports Network. The half hour show which airs every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, features Ryan interviewing different Boston Globe sports writers on ten issues related to New England sports. Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy appeared in the premiere episode. [cite web
title=NESN and The Boston Globe name Bob Ryan host of Globe 10.0 | publisher=Boston Globe & NESN|accessdate=2007-06-27
] [cite web
title=Globe 10.0 debut |date=2007-06-26
publisher=Boston Globe & NESN |accessdate=2007-06-27

Guest appearances

Ryan is a regular guest on radio; some of his appearances on the radio include:

* The "Bob Ryan Report" on "Loren and Wally" (WROR-FM): Every Thursday morning at 7:50 a.m. he goes on to give his opinion about Boston sports.
* Ryan contributes to Michael Felger's show. He used to contribute to Dennis and Callahan on WEEI. [Boston Phoenix "Don't Quote Me" [ feature] ]
* [ Roundtable] (featuring Ryan) on NPR's On Point to talk about the decline in basketball viewership.
* Bob is a weekly contributor to the "Marty and Miller" radio program on [KXNO] in Des Moines, Iowa.
*"The Tony Kornheiser Show"; Ryan has appeared on the first episode of most of Kornheiser's show incarnations. Kornheiser calls Ryan "the quintessential American sportswriter".
* Ryan is also a frequent guest host on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" and guest on "The Sports Reporters".
* He is a regular contributor on the show "Around the Horn" of which he has--by far--the highest winning percentage of everyone on the show. Fact|date=October 2007
* In addition Bill Simmons has called him "the best basketball writer ever." Paul Silas joked on "Cold Pizza" while Ryan was a guest, that all Bob Ryan's success was due to him. [Cold Pizza, 10/30/06, the day after Red Auerbach's death. Ryan would attend Auerbach's funeral. This is not surprising considering how Ryan was close to many figures in the Celtics organization. He also wrote columns on the matter. Which can be found [ here] , [ here] and [ here] ]

Controversies and mistakes

Joumana Kidd comments

In May 2003, Ryan appeared on "Sports Final", a local sports talk show airing on WBZ-TV. At that time, Ryan said that Joumana Kidd, the wife of New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd needed someone to "smack" her for taking her son T.J., then 4 years old, to NBA play-off night games where they could be taunted. [AP [ story] via CBS News, 5/7/03] He accused Joumana of being an exhibitionist and using the child as a prop to get television time. The show's host, Bob Lobel, asked Ryan to retract his statement, but Ryan refused, saying:

* LOBEL: You just don’t want to smack her. You don’t mean to say that.
* RYAN: Alright.
* LOBEL: I mean. Do you? Really, do you? Tell me you don’t.
* RYAN: Why should I say anything different here than I said all last playoffs last year?Greater Boston [ story] , WGBH]

The comments struck a chord because in 2001, Joumana Kidd had been the victim of Domestic violence by her husband, Jason Kidd. [AP [ story] via USA Today, 3/13/01] Ryan would return to Boston to meet with executives at the "Globe". Ryan later apologized, but the "Globe" still suspended him and barred him from television for one month. "Four weeks took my breath away. But I’ll abide by it", he later said.Greater Boston [ story] , WGBH] Then Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney chastised Ryan for his comments ["Romney takes rips at Ryan," Boston Herald, May 8, 2003]

Some like Gerry Callahan of the "Boston Herald" would defend Ryan while others such as "Herald" Ombudsman Jim Baker did not."USA Today" interview via Greater Boston [ story] , WGBH] The "Boston Phoenix" called it a "moment of temporary insanity." ["Boston Phoenix" "This Just In" [ feature] ] Ryan later said, "I'm angry with myself forgetting in the heat of battle that the woman had been hit." [ interview] ]

2006 Final Four column

Ryan made an embarrassing mistake in 2006 when he wrote a column promoting the Final Four matchup of Louisiana State University and George Mason University, and recommending fans tune to see two of the biggest players in college basketball, LSU's Glen "Big Baby" Davis and George Mason's Jai Lewis. However, LSU and George Mason were on different sides of the NCAA Bracket and were not scheduled to play one another. No one caught the error and this inaccurate column was run in the Boston Globe. [cite web | url = | title = Full throttle |author=Bob Ryan |work = Boston Globe | date = 2006-04-01 | accessdate = 2008-02-27 ]

Theo Epstein confrontation

Like fellow "Globe" sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy he had a run-in with Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. In November 2006 he had a small unfriendly exchange with Epstein saying "on behalf of an eager constituency, I hope the rumor (of a J. D. Drew deal) isn't true." ["New Hampshire Union Leader" [ article] , 11/30/06] Curt Schilling would call into Dennis and Callahan and call out Ryan, [ [] , 11/30/06] but some like NBC Sports's Tom Curran sided with Ryan.


* "Wait Till I Make the Show: Baseball in the Minor Leagues" (1974)
* "Celtics pride: The rebuilding of Boston's world championship basketball team" (1975)
* "The Pro Game: The World of Professional Basketball" (1975)
* "Hondo: Celtic Man in Motion" (1977) coauthored with John Havlicek
* "Forty Eight Minutes" (1987) with Terry Pluto
* "Cousy on the Celtic Mystique" (1988) coauthored with Bob Cousy
* "Drive: The Story of My Life" (1989) coauthored with Larry Bird
* "Boston Celtics: The History, Legends, and Images of America's Most Celebrated Team" (1990)
* "The Four Seasons" (1997)
* "The Road to the Super Bowl" (1997)
* "A Day of Light and Shadows" (2000) Only introduction
* "When Boston Won the World Series: A Chronicle of Boston's Remarkable Victory in the First Modern World Series of 1903" (2004) released before Red Sox victory
* "The Best of Sport: Classic Writing from the Golden Era of Sports" (2005)


External links

* [ Bob Ryan's Blog]
* [ Bob Ryan] 2006 Red Sox Profiles

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