For More Than 40 Years, Dick Lipe Has Been The Statistics Guru For Boston Celtics’ TV Broadcasters – Forbes

Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) celebrates with forward Jayson Tatum (0) during the first half … [+] of Game 2 of basketball’s NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
About 12 hours before Game 3 of the NBA Finals last Wednesday, Dick Lipe sent an email to the staff at NBC Sports Boston, a regional sports network that airs Celtics’ games. The message contained a 10-page document detailing dozens of statistics and notes, informing the network’s producers and on-air talent with what had happened so far during the Celtics-Golden State Warriors series and what to look out for that night and beyond.
For instance, before rallying to beat the Warriors in Game 1, the Celtics had been 0-27 in NBA Finals games when trailing by six or more points entering the fourth quarter. And Celtics star Jayson Tatum ranked first in this year’s playoffs in overlooked categories such as fouls drawn and deflections.
For Lipe, no number is obscure or irrelevant, as he’s dedicated more than 40 years to helping the Celtics’ broadcasters understand the game better and improve their performance via numbers. Since January 1980, Lipe has served as the stats guru during Celtics television broadcasts and shoulder programming such as pre-game and post-game studio shows. During nearly every home game, Lipe sits next to legendary Celtics’ TV play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman and feeds Gorman with statistics that Gorman often uses on the air.
NBC Sports Boston isn’t airing the Finals because the league’s lucrative television contract mandates the games are exclusive to ABC. Still, Lipe continues to send his 10-page-plus emails every day to the station’s staffers who are working on the Celtics’ pre-game and post-game shows.
“I tell people, and I don’t think this is any exaggeration at all, Dick is responsible for at least 50% of what I say on air,” said Gorman, who has worked with Lipe since 1981. “At least. Sometimes I’ll work with stats guys on the road and I want to say, ‘Call Dick and he’ll tell you how to really do this job.’”
The amazing thing about Lipe is that the Celtics’ gig is part-time, and he’s just as well-regarded, perhaps even more so, in his full-time job.
Since 1977, Lipe has worked as the sports information director at Bentley University, a small college in the Boston suburb of Waltham, Mass., that’s known for its business school. Lipe, who grew up near Albany, N.Y., had entered Bentley as a freshman in the fall of 1973 and soon began tracking stats for the football team, just like he had done in high school. Lipe continued in that role for the next four years and helped other teams, as well.
Lipe graduated with an accounting degree in 1973, but by then Bentley’s athletics director asked Lipe if he wanted to become the school’s first full-time SID. It didn’t take long before Lipe accepted the offer.
“Accounting was on my mind,” Lipe said. “I always liked numbers. But the more I got into it, I wanted to stay involved in sports, and this was a way to do it. It was the perfect opportunity for me. I’m sure I could’ve made a lot more money over the years if I’d gone into the accounting field. But I don’t know if I would’ve enjoyed it as much as I have for the past 45 years.”
Through the years, Lipe has adapted to a rapidly evolving college sports industry and the latest technologies. For the first 15 years of his career, he worked on a typewriter, attended all of Bentley’s home games, wrote his notes on paper, made phone calls to editors and writers at newspapers throughout the Boston area and in the players’ hometowns looking for coverage of Bentley’s athletes and sent updates to the other SIDs via the U.S. Postal Service.
“I used to get excited when I’d get the mail every day to find out what was happening at the other schools,” Lipe said. “There was no internet to get the news.”
He added: “There was a lot more communication. There was a lot more interaction with the other SIDs when we needed something. Today, it’s all email. You don’t just talk to people as much anymore.”
Still, despite longing at times for those old days, Lipe has thrived in the new media world. Lipe is one of only two full-time employees in Bentley’s sports information office and handles the communications efforts and publicity for 16 of the school’s 23 varsity sports. For those sports, he attends all home games, keeps track of the statistics, writes pre-game and post-game articles, compiles video highlights and posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media channels. Lipe usually watches the road games via an internet live stream, allowing for him to write post-game recaps.
“It’s something I never pictured I’d be doing,” Lipe said. “I think if you looked at my job description from 20, 25 years ago, it’s totally different.”
Lipe said he interviewed for one job outside of Bentley in 1980 at the behest of that school’s departing SID, but he never seriously considered taking the job. Since then, Lipe hasn’t applied for any other position, as he’s content working at his alma mater.
Lipe has received numerous accolades, including a spot in Bentley’s athletics Hall of Fame in 1993, the College Sports Information Directors of America’s Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Northeast-10 Conference Hall of Fame in 2006.
“You’ve got to have an encyclopedia to write and explain what he did,” said Bob DeFelice, who retired this spring after serving as Bentley’s baseball coach for 54 years. “I would just say I don’t know how it was humanly possible for him to do so much in that era when there was no technology. It was all done in person….His days were longer than any two or three people put together. And he hasn’t changed.”
Lipe has earned the respect of colleagues in the Celtics’ media corps, as well. On Twitter earlier this month, longtime Boston Herald Celtics beat writer Mark Murphy called Lipe “the immortal,” while veteran Celtics and NBA writer Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com referred to Lipe as “the Sultan of Stat.”
Lipe’s career with the Celtics began in 1980 when he reached out to TV play-by-play announcer Roger Twibell and asked if he needed someone to compile stats during broadcast and keep the announcers informed. Lipe has been in that role ever since, including the past 41 years with Gorman, who was inducted into the media wing of Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame last year as the recipient of the Curt Gowdy award.
“He’s tremendous to work with,” Lipe said of Gorman. “He’s always giving me credit whether it’s a postgame thank you or he’ll mention my name a couple of times during the course of a game, giving me credit for this stat or that stat. I’m always trying to look for trends, things that haven’t happened or rarely happened, something I think the fans that are watching would be interested in.”
From 1981 to 2020, Lipe also worked alongside color analyst Tommy Heinsohn, a legendary former Celtics player and coach who grew close to Lipe. Heinsohn died in November 2020 at age 86.
During games, Lipe sits beside the TV announcers, keeps track of statistics and the play-by-play and searches databases such as Sportradar, Basketball Reference and NBA.com while also watching the game. He listens to what they’re saying and jots down notes on a pad of paper that the announcers can use to enhance their point or inform the viewer.
“(Lipe is) always trying to enhance the story,” Gorman said. “A lot of stat guys you work with, they just throw you stuff they think is cool. What he does is he listens. Tommy Heinsohn just loved him because Tommy would say something and bingo, there would be a piece of paper in front of Tommy that reinforced what Tommy just said…It sounded like Tommy was really sharp. Well, Tommy was really sharp until the very end, but he also had a great writer, as I have. Dick is like the ghost writer.”
Gorman is best known for his work with the Celtics, but he’s also been a national broadcaster calling Big East basketball games in the 1980s for ESPN, NCAA men’s basketball games on CBS, NBA playoffs on TBS and multiple Olympics. Still, when it comes to statistics gurus, no one compares to Lipe.
“I’ve really had a nice little career being all around the world doing sports, and he’s the best, hands down,” Gorman said. “It doesn’t matter what sport you’re talking about, he is flat out the best I’ve ever worked with.”

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