From the Buckeyes to the Bronx

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About the author:
Sports executive and author Rick Bay began his love affair with sports as a young boy in Waukegan, Illinois. His early play, coupled with the lessons taught by his father, a coach, helped Rick to become an outstanding three-sport athlete in high school. At the University of Michigan he continued his stellar athletic performance as a Big Ten wrestling champion. Using his skills and experience as Michigan's wrestling coach earned him the title of National Coach of the Year in 1974.

He left the coaching side of sports in 1974 and embarked on a 25-year career as an executive with some of the most recognized and prestigious college and professional sports organizations in the United States. He served as Athletic Director at the University of Oregon and The Ohio State University before moving to the famed New York Yankees as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Following his work with those organizations, he moved to the University of Minnesota, where he was Athletic Director, and then to the Cleveland Indians as President and Chief Operating Officer. He ended his career at San Diego State University, retiring from his post as Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics in 2003.

In 2008, he was named to the All-Time Illinois High School Wrestling Team and in February, 2010, was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. In June, 2010, he was elected to the National Athletic Directors' Hall of Fame.

A man of many interests and still an active fitness buff, Rick ran the Boston Marathon in 2 hours, 47 minutes. He as traveled the world and visited such remote places as Rwanda, Burma, Laos, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Cuban and North Korea. His recent trips have taken him to Iran, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Pakistan. He is also a patron of the cultural arts. Rick is a collector of contemporary art and enjoys attending opera and ballet performances. He has also attended professional theater productions of all 37 plays written by Shakespeare.

From the Buckeyes to the Bronx

Authored by Rick Bay

Rick Bay was a sports executive for 25 years in both collegiate and professional sports and he has the battle scars to prove it. He has been the athletics director at the University of Oregon, The Ohio State University, the University of Minnesota and San Diego State University.

He also worked for George Steinbrenner as the Chief Operating Officer for the New York Yankees, and was the President of the Cleveland Indians.

This is the story of his first three jobs in sports administration. The journey begins with Rick's baptism at Oregon when the school was on NCAA probation, losing in football and playing Bingo at halftime of its basketball games to raise enough money to paint the gym. He had to add a surcharge to football ticket prices to fix the sewer system in the stadium. It was a time when the Ducks were doing so poorly the faculty senate questioned the school should remain in the Pac-10.

Then comes Rick's surprising move to Ohio State, where Woody Hayes wondered how the Buckeyes could hire a "Michigan guy." Both football coach Earle Bruce and basketball coach Eldon Miller were on the hot seat when Rick arrived, prompting Buckeye alum Jack Nicklaus to ask him when he was going to "get rid of them." Later, despite threats from a university trustee to have him fired, Rick declared Cris Carter ineligible for his senior season, after it was revealed that the All-American had accepted money from an agent.

Shockingly, Rick resigned in protest when, the Monday before the Michigan game, the president fired football coach, Earle Bruce, against his recommendation.

Finally, Rick recounts his 100 days as the Yankees' Chief Operating Officer and his relationship with "The Boss" amidst the craziness of running an organization some called the "Bronx Zoo." It was Billy Martin's fifth and final stint as the Yankee manager; Lou Piniella was the general manager; Phil Rizzuto and Bill White were the radio announcers and Mel Allen was still around. Rick signed a check to pay "protection money" to a neighborhood "enforcer," who made certain the outside walls of Yankee Stadium were free of graffiti. Martin was in a bar fight outside a Dallas strip club during a Yankee road trip to play Texas, which prompted a review of the club's alcohol policy. Lou Piniella resigned suddenly, and, when word of the departure leaked out to the media prematurely, Steinbrenner ordered lie detector tests for the entire front office. Rick refused and soon followed Piniella, though George asked him to stay.

As his narrative confirms, Rick was better at getting jobs than he was at keeping them. His career was an often bumpy ride, sometimes turbulent and defiant, but his story has left readers with a rare glimpse of what life can be like for an executive at the highest level of college and professional sports.

Publication Date:
1477464190 / 9781477464199
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Biography & Autobiography / Sports / General

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