RICE, Henry Grantland

Born: November 1, 1880, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States

Died: July 13, 1954, in New York City, New York, United States

Henry Grantland Rice was an American sports columnist and author. He is noted for coining the phrase, "It's not whether you won or lost, but how you played the game."

His father, Bolling Grantland Rice, was a forceful Civil War veteran and his mother was Beulah Rice. When he was eight years old, Rice began developing his interest in baseball and football, which were sports he pursued throughout his life as a player, referee and commentator.

He attended the Nashville Military Institute, the Tennessee Military Institute, and Vanderbilt University. After his graduation in 1901, he worked with semi-professional baseball teams. However, his father realized that his son's physical stature would make him a better journalist.

Rice started his journalism career at with the Nashville Daily News as the editor, sportswriter, and copyboy. He then worked with other papers such as the Atlanta Journal and the Cleveland News. Interrupting his journalism career, he became an baseball and football umpire and referee from 1907 to 1911. He later wrote for the New York Evening Mail, Tribune, and the Sun. During World War I, he worked as a drill sergeant and a lieutenant in the artillery corps. filing notes and reports of the war to the Stars and Stripes.

After the war ended, he became a leading figure in sports journalism, having both sports and newspaper contacts such as Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey. His sports column, the Sportlight, was nationally syndicated in 1930. It is estimated that he wrote over twenty-two thousand columns. His writing was influenced by the Romantic poets and was full of commentary and poetry.

In addition to his sports column, he published verse such as Casey's Revenge and founded a company that produced motion picture sports documentaries. He is also credited with dubbing the backfield of the Notre Dame football team, "The Four Horsemen". In 1951 Columbia University established the Grantland Rice fellowship in journalism in his honor. He died within hours of suffering a stroke.