From The Observer, the alumni magazine of Bentley University
As most of his colleagues and friends will tell you, Dick Lipe ’77 is a man of few words, but a lifelong love of numbers has made him a master storyteller for Bentley athletics over the past 35 years.
Lipe took up duties as the university’s first full-time sports information director (SID) soon after earning his BS in Accountancy. In 1979, he added the role of statistician for Boston Celtics home-game television broadcasts.
“I basically retired from accounting on graduation day,” says Lipe, who was groomed for the SID post by its previous part-time occupant, Rich Bevilaqua. “Four years working as a student in the Athletics Office helped me learn about sports information, and that it was a career that I wanted to pursue.”
Long hours, frequent road trips, and work on nights and weekends come with the territory. The responsibilities are many: generating game notes, writing and editing stories, coordinating webcasts, producing media guides, managing the Falcons' website, and arranging interviews for the sports media.
Lipe wins special praise for the insightful statistical analyses he provides to coaches, which always include detailed breakdowns of Bentley’s recent matchups against a particular opponent.
“It’s really everything that a coach could want when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of your team, statistically speaking,” says women's basketball coach Barbara Stevens, who won an NCAA Div. 2 national championship in 2014. “His numbers often support my gut feelings.”
Lipe’s fans also include Celtics television announcers Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn, whom he has worked alongside since 1981.
“Yes, Dick provides us with the percentages, the rebounds, and so on,” says Gorman. “But really what he does is anticipates what Tommy and I are thinking – and then puts the numbers in context.”
A typical Celtics broadcast finds Lipe courtside, head down, frantically scribbling notes. It may look as though he’s not paying attention to the game.
“Yet when Dick hands me a note, it reflects something that just happened on the court," says Gorman. “How he does it, sometimes, I’m not sure.”
Gorman goes on to credit Lipe for providing “75 percent of what I say [on a broadcast]. Dick is more like my scriptwriter, so to say he’s a stats guy really doesn’t do him justice. If there was a hall of fame for statisticians, Dick should be the first guy inducted.”