The saying goes that behind every great man there is a great woman and that certainly holds true for Ryan McDonough.
The 33-year-old NBA exec’s mother, Denise, raised a family of five children along with her husband, former Boston Globe sportswriter Will McDonough, in Hingham, Massachusetts.
While several of Denise’s sons — Ryan (Phoenix Suns GM), Terry (hired this week in Arizona Cardinals’ scouting department) and Sean (ABC/ESPN play-by-play guy) — followed their father into the sports industry, she admits she tried to do her part in giving them a balanced upbringing.
“I was the one who took them to the museums and put them in front of the piano with very limited results,” Denise told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Friday. “But I kept trying.”
Although Denise noted that her attempt to introduce her children to the arts failed miserably, she said it didn’t take away from the wonderful people they turned into.
This of course includes the new Suns general manager.
“Ryan wasprobably the easiest of the five (to raise) by far,” said Denise. “As you could probably see from his press conference Thursday, he is very thoughtful, kind and very, very knowledgeable.
“Even growing up, he was fairly focused and just really never a problem.”
Although he’s only been on the job a handful of days now, the Suns general manager appears to at least have a good grasp of how to handle the media — a trait Denise attributes to going on assignments with his father.
“He’s grown up around (the media),” said Denise. “He’s always gone to Super Bowls or owners meetings or whatever. And I think just seeing his dad in action and the way he treated people, and to my husband’s credit, he would treat the guy who sold the newspaper just as well as the guy who owned the newspaper.
“All of (the children) have that sort of kindness to them, but Ryan even more so just because of his personality has learned to be totally honest, to treat people well. That’s the way he is. I think he’s very natural and has grown into his job.”
In addition to the ascension Ryan and his two brothers have experienced in the sports world, the two daughters of the family — Erin and Cara — have also had distinguished careers with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Under Armour respectively.
So what’s been the secret to their collective success?
“The two best things you could say about my kids is that they are kind and have a great work ethic,” said Denise. “Those two things have been instilled in them, they saw it growing up and all sort of knew it.
“To me and to my late husband, that was the most important thing you could instill.”