Rogers: 'A Great Number Eight'

Nov. 6, 2000

Ryan Kealy has had an amazing athletic life, with a multitude ofaccomplishments marking his entire career. People try to explain why. Hiswork ethic is always mentioned. A coach will tell you how he brings hours oftape home to study and that he chooses to lift weights with the linemen.Another will point to his ability to push himself to and beyond his limits.Everyday. A coach of another Sun Devil team will suggest that Ryan'sinfluence in the weight room motivated not only the football players, butalso all athletes in the athletic department and that surely his leadershipis his best asset. The strength coach will point to the lifting record boardwhere 'KEALY' is in bold face across the entire board. A friend ofRyan's from grade school will tell you that it's his eyes, thathe sees the field and his receivers without tipping his hand to defenders,like a wolf. It's hard to pinpoint one factor that makes Ryan such anexciting and winning player.

From Sun Devil Stadium to the Orange Bowl, Ryan has ignited his team and fansacross the nation, from coast to coast. His courage and loyalty are two ofhis best qualities, facets of his personality that teammates and fellowstudent-athletes immediately recognize and respect. You see, Ryan was aboutso much more than himself. His team and his fellow Sun Devil athletes wereall affected by his winning attitude and infectious spirit. Ryan has been anactive participant in recruiting trips, not just for football. He would cometo the tennis courts to meet our recruits, throw the ball around and sharethe attributes of the Valley of the Sun. He is a Sun Devil through andthrough, making similar appearances for almost all of the teams in theAthletic Department.

I feel privileged to be a student-athlete with Ryan Kealy. His motivationand inspiring example made me a better athlete, teammate and person. Hisinfluence was felt throughout the athletic department and across campus.Ryan perpetuated a winning tradition at Arizona State University. While Ryancollected records and awards, it was his toughness and thrilling poise thatthat leaves an indelible mark on fans and competitors alike. He will be thefirst to give his respect to any collegiate athlete, especially one whocompetes in the PAC-10. He not only competed, but on given nights, wasbetter than opposing quarterbacks who headline their teams in the NationalFootball League. He has thrown touchdown passes in the most storied stadiumsin the history of Intercollegiate Athletics. He has led his team to bowlgames and has set the standard of work ethic for years to come. Ryan'sinfluence will resonate in Sun Devil athletics for many years to come.

During a break in our tennis season I told Ryan that I wanted to work on myspeed. The next thing I knew, he had me up just after the sun, runningpatterns and catching balls with his receivers. Ryan's theory was thatif you wanted to get better you had to do everything possible. If thatincluded joining a 'throwing' session, then that would be part ofthe process. I'll never forget that day.

Ryan will be a success in life. His love for family, his friends, his highschool and his teammates demonstrate his grounded and humble nature.Congratulations on all you achieved, Ryan we were blessed to have you as a fellowstudent-athlete. Tennyson wrote a line that reminds me of Ryan a great deal. In his poem 'Ulysses', the poet writes about the incredibleresolve, toughness and determination of his central character. I know thatRyan will continue to exemplify his innate tenacity in life, 'tostrive, to seek, to find and not to yield.'

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