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FAITHFUL FAN | Former Catholic high school coach has fun look at sports

His enjoyment of writing about sports began with a fantasy baseball league in 1985. Bob Ryan wrote summaries of each team and kept statistics by hand.

After the 2015 Super Bowl, he wrote about the game-ending play that resulted in an interception when Seattle coach Pete Carroll called a pass instead of run from the one-yard line. Ryan put the article online via Prepcasts, a company he helped start and later sold that broadcasts high school games on the internet. The next morning, the Prepcasts owner called him and told him he gained national fame with his remarks that coaches are stuck on pre-planned plays rather than common sense.

Two Washington, D.C., sports talk-show hosts found the blog item online, praised the remarks and called Bob Ryan to comment. Only they had the wrong Bob Ryan — they assumed it was written by the famous sportswriter for the Boston Globe. The attention inspired the St. Louis Ryan to continue writing. Starting with 35 or so readers, he now is up to more than 500. Not bad for a former math teacher.

“It continues to be fun. It’s a complete hobby,” he said. “I’m not making any money. “I write about what the common Joe is thinking.”

Ryan’s blog is a fast read, observations on a variety of sports informed by his many years of keeping close to sports. A recent blog looked at the glut of college football bowl games; the Heisman Trophy candidates; the St. Louis Blues new season; and an assessment of the trade of Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets. He earlier wrote about the St. Louis Cardinals weak lineup.

He puts it on his Facebook page and uses an email service. His website is bobryansportsblog.com.

The blog never stoops to personal attacks. That’s due in part to his upbringing, his Catholic faith and his admiration for all athletes. “Because somebody’s not performing, it doesn’t mean they’re a bad guy,” he said. “I try to be fair, I try to be honest. I’ll say we can’t get Carpenter to hit. What are we gonna do?

“I’ve loved sports all my life, and I got into teaching to coach sports,” Ryan said. “I loved it.”

He coached football, basketball and baseball at the high school level, and retired from teaching in 2012 after spending 21 years at Christian Brothers College High. After college, he entered the U.S. Army and was discharged in 1972. He began teaching in St. Louis City, then taught and coached at Rosary High School for 11 years, St. Louis Preparatory Seminary North for two years til it closed, St. Louis Preparatory Seminary in Shrewsbury for four years until it closed, then at CBC. He also coached basketball at Ursuline Academy. At Rosary he coached three sports and was an athletic director in addition to teaching. And he coached his children’s CYC baseball teams during the summer. “My wife was a saint,” he said of those years.

Prepcasts began in 2002, and at one time he had a crew of 30 announcers. He started that after announcing CBC games on the radio, a position he fell into when a previous announcer quit abruptly. “I just happened to be standing there, and the athletic director said, ‘Bob, you want to try it?’”

On Prepcasts, he broadcast for many big high school games, including playoffs. He still announces, primarily for St. Mary’s, and also home games for the University of Missouri-St. Louis, a total of 70-80 games a year.

Now a parishioner of Queen of All Saints Parish in Oakville, he attended St. Anthony of Padua Grade School and St. Mary’s High School.

His Catholic upbringing showed him right from wrong, consequences, giving your best effort while having a good time. “The upbringing you get from your parents is solidified by the school,” Ryan said. “We went to Mass every day at St. Anthony’s. Tremendous teachers at St. Mary’s. It no doubt played a role in my development.”

Kenny is a staff writer for the Review and a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Oakville.

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