GM Terry Ryan rewards loyalty with allegiance

  • Article by: JIMSOUHAN
  • Updated: April 1, 2012 - 6:33 PM

Terry Ryan's story is one of perseverance and loyalty, and it is not a story that began when he agreed to become the Twins' general manager for a second time last winter. It's a story borne of struggles, a story that easily could have ended before it started.

Before Ryan became a perennial executive of the year candidate, he nearly lost his job. Under his watch, the Twins posted losing records from 1995 to 2000. The Pohlad family believed in his body of work and his character and kept him on the job when few organizations would have exhibited such patience.

Ryan rewarded the Pohlads by building a winner, and he rewarded their loyalty with his own.

When the Twins faced contraction in the winter of 2000-01, the Toronto Blue Jays offered Ryan their general manager position. Not knowing whether he would have a job or a franchise the following year, Ryan refused to even interview.

As the Twins became known as a model franchise, Ryan received more feelers from other teams, teams that could offer greater resources and more money. He never interviewed for another job. And after leaving his post with the Twins to spend more time with his family, Ryan received more feelers and again refused to bite.

Ryan is the rare high-profile figure in professional sports who can say with a straight face that he is about more than the money. He is the rare person in professional sports for whom loyalty is not defined by contract language but by a standard dictionary.

"There were some jobs that I think people considered me for," Ryan said. "But I don't know if the jobs were mine if I wanted them. It might have gotten to that point, but when the subject came up I didn't let it get very far.

"It's not that I was afraid of the opportunity. It was that I had my roots in this organization, and I had my roots in the state of Minnesota, with my wife and kids. I never had the desire to leave the Twins.

"I've always been treated well here, not only by the organization but by the fan base. Our organization went through some tough times. I always felt a loyalty to the people who were good to me even when we were struggling. I always had the feeling that I pretty much belong here with the Twins."

After Tom Kelly retired as manager, he, too, could have cashed in on his reputation by taking over a big-money team. Kelly and Ryan, who possess immense admiration for each other, even could have marketed themselves as a duo.

Both played in the Twins organization, and neither ever expressed a desire to work elsewhere.

"I know Tom put it very succinctly not too long ago: 'If you're loyal to these people, they're loyal to you,'" Ryan said. "We've got it pretty good here. Talk about the grass being greener on the other side, well, I'm not sure it is. I don't know if it can get any better.

"We've got a brand-new stadium, plenty of payroll, strong revenues, a system in our farm system that I believe in.

"You know, Tom accomplished a lot. I have not. Tom won two World Series. I have not gotten this franchise to one. I know he's had many opportunities to work elsewhere, and he has turned them down. That's kind of the way things work around here."

Ryan's humility rivals his loyalty. How many sports executives would point out flaws in their own résumé?

"When this job opened up again, I took it, feeling like I'm much more prepared to do it this time," Ryan said. "The experiences I went through in the '90s taught me a lot.

"I'd like to take this team to the World Series. I don't know how long I'm going to do this job, but right now I feel really good about this organization. We went through a horrible year last year, but this thing certainly isn't broken. I want to prove that."

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 12:00 PM
Chicago
Oklahoma City 2:30 PM
Cleveland
Dallas 5:00 PM
New Orleans
Indiana 5:00 PM
Orlando
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Phoenix
Minnesota 5:00 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 4:00 PM
Team Foligno
South Florida 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 12:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Virginia 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Indiana 12:30 PM
Ohio State
Stony Brook 1:00 PM
Binghamton
Cincinnati 1:00 PM
UCF
Maine 1:00 PM
Hartford
Monmouth 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Marist
Rowan 1:00 PM
Princeton
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Rhode Island
Duke 1:00 PM
St Johns
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Siena
Drake 1:00 PM
Wichita State
Vermont 1:00 PM
UMass Lowell
Seton Hall 2:00 PM
Butler
NJIT 2:05 PM
South Alabama
Northern Iowa 3:00 PM
Illinois State
Louisville 3:00 PM
Pittsburgh
UMBC 3:30 PM
Albany
Niagara 3:30 PM
Iona
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 11:00 AM
Georgetown
St Johns 11:00 AM
Villanova
Arkansas 11:00 AM
Florida
Maine 12:00 PM
UMBC
Vanderbilt 12:00 PM
Alabama
Lafayette 12:00 PM
Lehigh
UCF 1:00 PM
SMU
Utah 1:00 PM
Washington
James Madison 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
Delaware 1:00 PM
Drexel
Hofstra 1:00 PM
William & Mary
Hartford 1:00 PM
Albany
Binghamton 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Towson 1:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Wake Forest 1:00 PM
(17) Florida State
Georgia Tech 1:00 PM
Virginia
(22) Georgia 1:00 PM
(5) Tennessee
Drake 1:00 PM
Evansville
Iona 1:00 PM
Canisius
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Northwestern 1:00 PM
Penn State
Wisconsin 1:00 PM
Michigan State
Ohio State 1:00 PM
Purdue
Northern Iowa 1:05 PM
Indiana State
Butler 1:30 PM
Xavier
Creighton 2:00 PM
Marquette
Providence 2:00 PM
DePaul
Northeastern 2:00 PM
Elon
(2) Connecticut 2:00 PM
Cincinnati
Oregon 2:00 PM
Arizona
Bradley 2:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
NC State 2:00 PM
(23) Syracuse
(7) Maryland 2:00 PM
Indiana
Illinois State 2:05 PM
Missouri State
Colorado 3:00 PM
Washington St
Tulane 3:00 PM
South Florida
(14) Kentucky 3:00 PM
Missouri
(9) Oregon State 3:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Vermont 3:30 PM
UMass Lowell
Iowa State 3:30 PM
(8) Texas
Southern Ill 3:45 PM
Wichita State
(15) Duke 4:00 PM
(12) North Carolina
Miami-Florida 4:00 PM
(4) Louisville
(21) Minnesota 4:15 PM
(25) Rutgers
California 5:00 PM
UCLA
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close