Tommy Ryan

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High School Athlete and Coach

Since 1949, the former Bishop Timon High School (now Timon-St. Jude) has been a South Buffalo beacon of athletic brilliance, producing memorable players and teams at a rate enviable to many larger Catholic schools. That tradition was founded immediately upon the opening of the school by a three-sport competitor who quickly put his new school on the map — Tom Ryan.

The first Tiger to achieve First-Team All-Catholic status in three sports (a total of five such selections), Ryan captained the varsity basketball team to its first Manhattan Cup Title in his senior year, 1954, winning tournament MVP honors. Tom later gained MVP honors at the Glens Falls Eastern States Invitational, edging out stars such as Tom and Sam Stith of St. Bonaventure fame. The hard-hitting shortstop also sparked Timon to the Georgetown Cup the same year, and, to complete the remarkable trifecta, helped take the varsity football team to a league title the same year. That year was selected by the Buffalo News as one of the top ten high school sports years in WNY of the past 50 years.

Ryan attended Holy Cross University on a full basketball scholarship, and for four years, was either captain or co-captain of the basketball and baseball squads. The 1958 baseball team placed third in the College World Series, and Tom’s contributions landed him a minor league contract in the Baltimore Orioles system under Earl Weaver.

Ryan returned to Timon to “give back” as coach of varsity basketball and baseball, and he gave back in grand style by providing his alma mater a championship trophy in each sport. He later coached Grover Cleveland High to its first Yale Cup Championship in 1964.

Tom Ryan’s status as a legend at Timon grew as much from his conduct and demeanor as from statistics and awards. In the words of former basketball coach George Ellis, “No one competed more fully and no one conducted himself in a more gentlemanly fashion with his teammates, opponents, the fans, his coaches and the public.” A genuine “good sport,” Ryan was a role model for the generations of fine athletes who have followed in his steps at Timon-St. Jude, and he is a welcome member of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.