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Pat Ryan has a laugh with Northwestern Vice President of Facilities John D'Angelo during a luncheon that preceded a football game against Nevada at Ryan Field on Sept. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune) Kickoff approached on a Saturday at Ryan Field. Time was precious, so a stairwell beckoned for an ascent to the press box. One of the things Shirley says attracted her to Pat more than 50 years ago was that he did not have a "big head."He still doesn't, despite becoming a giant in the insurance industry as Aon's founder, a minority owner (reportedly 20 percent) of the Bears, Chicago's point person for the 2016 Olympic bid, a wide-ranging philanthropist (Art Institute of Chicago, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Lyric Opera of Chicago) and the man chiefly responsible for the transformation of Northwestern athletics."The single most important reason that Northwestern football is where it is today is Pat Ryan," says Gary Barnett, who led the Purple to Pasadena in 1995. Alumni and faculty debated waving the white flag as the Wildcats won three of 66 games from 1976 to '81. "He loves the exercise and is really proud that at 80 he can still climb to near the top of the stadium."Shirley laughs upon hearing that, offering a similar response to why they would walk: "Good cardio."It goes deeper, of course. His commitment to football has been astonishing."When Ryan joined Northwestern's board of trustees in 1978, NU football had dumpy facilities, underpaid coaches and a tolerance for losing.Of the few contracts that aren't immediately assigned to 247, most will be renegotiated, according to the source, who declined to be named because 247 and Scout have not yet finalized which contracts will be assigned.
Scout and Rivals were founded by Heckman, while 247 was founded by Shannon Terry, who had taken over as CEO of Rivals in 2001 and sold it to Yahoo in 2007 for a reported 0 million.
Ryan."Collins is signed through 2025, and his four-man recruiting class for 2018 is No.8 in the nation in 247Sports.com's composite ranking.
During a recent luncheon with supporters, NU athletic director Jim Phillips roared: "If you don't feel the momentum of what we're doing, I need to have a talk with you."Ryan is to Northwestern what T. Brother Rob describes him as the "sweetest, smartest, most driven guy." Shirley gushes that he graduated magna cum laude from Notre Dame in 2005.
Heckman's overtures came just weeks after he said in a court filing that he was not interested in bidding on Scout's assets, a claim his lawyer repeated in court.
Scout successfully petitioned Wiles to pursue document discovery against Heckman in January after it alleged that the ex-CEO had been contacting publishers and bad-mouthing the company to purchase it himself at auction.