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Saying it With Numbers: Dick Lipe '77
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
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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, shooting video, producing media guides, managing the Falcons website, arranging interviews for the sports media.
Lipe wins special praise for the insightful statistical analyses he provides to Bentley coaches. The information might include a detailed breakdown of a team’s recent matchups against a particular opponent.
“It’s really everything that a coach could want when it comes to knowing your team, statistically speaking,” says women’s basketball coach Barbara Stevens. “His numbers often support my gut feelings.”
Lipe’s fans also include Celtics television announcers Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn.
“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. 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.”
One likely inspiration is Lipe’s own enthusiasm for the sport. “I try to provide information about things that I’m curious about," he says. “If someone has a run of 25 straight games with 25 points, I’ll point that out.”
Gorman goes on to credit Lipe for providing “75 percent of what I say [on a broadcast]. 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.”