Tim Ryan (sportscaster)

For the American sportscaster who primarily specializes in NFL broadcasts, see Tim Ryan (American football).

Tim Ryan (born May 16, 1939) is a retired Canadian born American sportscaster.

He was also sports anchor on WNBC-TV 4 in New York in the mid-70s.


Early life and career

Ryan was born in Winnipeg and raised in Toronto and attended De La Salle College (Toronto).[1][2] His father, Joe, was general manager of three Canadian Football League teams in Winnipeg, Montreal and Edmonton and is an honoured member of both the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

In 1956, while attending high school, Ryan got his start in radio at CFRB in Toronto.[3]

Ryan graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1960 and took a job with newly formed CFTO-TV Toronto as an assistant sports director, where he called some games for the Toronto Maple Leafs (International League) Triple-A baseball club and the Toronto Marlboros junior hockey team [4] as well as hosting late night repeats of Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts home games.[5]

In 1966, Ryan was hired as the director of public relations for the expansion Oakland Seals of the NHL. He became the team's radio play by play announcer in 1967.

In 1969, Ryan moved to New York to work at WPIX as a news co-anchor and sportscaster.[6] While in New York City, Ryan also called New York Rangers games on WOR-TV WOR.

First stint at NBC and New York Islanders

In 1972, Ryan left the Rangers to become the lead announcer for the NHL on NBC. Ryan would call three Stanley Cup Finals alongside Ted Lindsay. Ryan also called NFL games, and other sports for NBC.[7][8]

While at CBS, Ryan also served as the play-by-play voice of the New York Islanders for seven seasons in the 1970s and early 1980s. Ryan had several partners, including George Michael and Ed Westfall.

CBS Sports and boxing announcer

In 1977, Ryan joined CBS. At CBS, Ryan called games for the NBA on CBS from 1977–1983, NFL on CBS from 1977–1993, College Football on CBS from 1996–97, and college basketball from 1982–1998. He also called alpine skiing at the 1992, 1994 and 1998 Olympic Winter Games. From 1978–97, Ryan was a CBS tennis commentator, calling nineteen U.S. Open Tennis Championships.

Ryan was also a lead boxing announcer during the 1970s and 1980s, for Mutual Radio, NBC, CBS, and fights shown on Closed-circuit television. Notable fights Ryan called include Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier, Floyd Patterson vs. Oscar Bonavena,[9] Bernard Hopkins vs. Glen Johnson,[10] Thomas Hearns vs. Sugar Ray Leonard,[11] Marvin Hagler vs. Sugar Ray Leonard,[12] and Ray Mancini vs. Duk Koo Kim.[13] His color commentators for boxing were Angelo Dundee, Gil Clancy, and Sugar Ray Leonard. In 1986, Ryan won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcast Journalism.[14]

Fox Sports and second stint at NBC

Ryan's contract with CBS expired in 1998, allowing Ryan to move to Fox and NBC, where Ryan covered NFL games and tennis for Fox and tennis, alpine ski racing, equestrian events, and boxing for NBC. From 2004-2006, Ryan called college football [15] and tennis for ESPN. (Tim Ryan is not to be confused with another Tim Ryan, who also called NFL games for Fox for many years.)

Ryan returned to NBC in 1998 and worked the 2000 Summer Olympics, 2002 Winter Olympics, 2004 Summer Olympics, 2006 Winter Olympics, 2008 Summer Olympics, and the 2010 Winter Olympics calling equestrian, rowing, and alpine skiing.[16] He covered the equestrian events for the third time at the 2012 London Summer Olympics on NBC for a total of 10 Olympics in his 52-year career. He also hosted a nightly recap show on SIRIUS radio during the 2006 Wimbledon Championships.[17]

Ryan served as the play by play announcer for NBC Sports coverage of Rowing and Flat Water Canoeing at the 2008 Summer Olympics.[18]

On Someone Else's Nickel

Tim is now the author of the recently published memoir, "On Someone Else's Nickel", recounting his 52-year career covering more than thirty different sports in more than twenty different countries on CBS, NBC and ESPN. The book details not just the events he broadcast, but the people and the adventures surrounding them.

Personal life

In 1991, Ryan's wife, Lee Ryan, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and died in 2002. Tim was a national board member of the Alzheimer's Association Public Policy Forum for eight years and still serves on an advisory board. He is a father of four children.[19] Ryan is remarried and lives with his wife, Patricia, in St. Helena, California.


  1. Br. G. Morgan, F.S.C., Lasallian Education - 150 Years in Toronto, 2001, page 59, parag. 3
  2. Day, Linda (February 15, 1992). "When it comes to Olympic games coverage, CBC gives Canadians a look at the world whereas CBS only gives Americans news on Americans". The Globe and Mail.
  3. "Ryan Named". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. December 24, 1966. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  4. NewspaperARCHIVE.com; accessed October 23, 2014.
  5. "CFL: The TV Years", broadcasting-history.ca; accessed October 23, 2014.
  6. WPIX-TV News Alumni; accessed October 23, 2014.
  7. before moving to CBS in 1977. Welcome to ActivePaper (I), digitalnewspapers.libraries.psu.edu; accessed October 23, 2014.
  8. Welcome to ActivePaper (II), digitalnewspapers.libraries.psu.edu; accessed October 23, 2014.
  9. http://www.caytonsports.com/list.pdf
  10. Boxing Results & Reports
  11. Thomas Hearns – The Fan Favorite
  12. Boxing Notebook; Leonard Still Has Hagler's Number - New York Times
  13. Mancini and Kim forever linked - Boxing - Yahoo! Sports
  14. Internantional Boxing Hall of Fame / BWAA Awards
  15. Cougs, Lobos seek to be well-grounded
  16. Sporting News - Your expert source for MLB Baseball, NFL Football, NBA Basketball, NHL Hockey, NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball and Fantasy Sports scores, blogs, and articles
  17. SIRIUS Satellite Radio to Provide Live Coverage of 2006 Wimbledon Tennis Championships. | PR Newswire (June, 2006)
  18. Medium Well: Your NBC Olympics lineup - A blog on sports media, news and networks - baltimoresun.com
  19. "A broadcaster perseveres, and an old Gator makes his mark", sptimes.com; accessed October 22, 2014.

External links

Preceded by
Dan Kelly
Jim Gordon
Stanley Cup Finals American network television play-by-play announcer
1980 (with Dan Kelly; Ryan called the second period of Game 6)
Succeeded by
Marv Albert and Ted Darling
Bob Cole
Preceded by
Danny Gallivan

Bob Cole and Don Wittman
Stanley Cup Finals Canadian network television play-by-play announcer
1967 (Game 1)
1986-1988 (with Bob Cole on CBC)
Succeeded by
Danny Gallivan
Jim Robson
Bob Cole
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