We Lost a Catholic School Legend.
I know most of my blogs are about baseball and Notre Dame. This post is about something a little different and so dear to my heart. When I look back at my first few years of teaching and coaching at Rome Catholic High, the one thing I remember are the great kids, parents, and supporters of the program. One that stands out is Joseph Ryan. He was the type of parent who watched every game his kids played in but rarely ever did you see him complain about the coaches. He let his kids learn from the coaches at RCH that he knew and trusted. Plus he was a coach for many years so he knew what it was like to be at that end. I coached or help coached each one of his children. I helped with Marty and Joe when they played baseball at RCH as well as Brendan. I coached the youngest Ryan boy Kevin, on what some people claim was the great modified team in recent history. We had a great undefeated season and I still get notifications about that team from the players. Mostly on how we beat RFA in that epic game. I even had to tutor one of the boys for a summer regents and Joe invited me to 4th Lake to do an hour of tutoring and then jet ski the rest of the day. He made you part of the family and anyone who knew him, felt the same way. He was a great man, husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend. The reason I am posting about this great man because he is a part of the catholic school family that RCH and ND have developed over the years. I sent my children through the Catholic Schools at ND just like he did at RCH. I know the dedication and loyalty you have to have to do that for your children. You do it because of your beliefs and because you want to make your children better people (he was successful there) Joe has a knack for writing and wrote some of the best columns on Rome sports for the Rome Sentinel. He never forgot about the people who throughout the years contributed to the community of Rome. I had the honor of being mentioned in a few of his articles. My favorite was how he would put: Rome NY - Home of ... and he mentioned me. That was a great honor for me. But that was Joe - he called it like he saw it and loved what he did. I was friend with him on Facebook and to see the love he had for his family - made me want to strive for that as well. He moved to Charlotte to be with his family but he was still a Roman. One of the nicest guys I have ever met and he always had a story to tell. And you always listened because he told it with great passion. I will always remember going to Aquinos after a RCH basketball game and he would be there talking with everyone. Not only did he tell stories, but he listened as well and he remembered everything. When I heard that he was sick, I was like most people and said, it’s Joe - he will get better. Unfortunately, he didn't and we lost a great member of our Catholic family. To his wife, Nancy (whom he adored) and his 4 boys (who are great men now as well) - from the ND family - you have our prayers and condolences. May we all strive to be the kind of man Joseph Ryan was. I'm sure he is playing 18 holes today with Tom Barry (another RCH/Rome legend who passed last month).