We recently spotlighted the story of math wiz and football star John Urschel of the NFL Baltimore Ravens; however, John isn’t the only NFL veteran who has a Ph.D. in mathematics. Many thanks to Stephen Gilmore at Johnson C. Smith University in NC for sharing the story of Frank Ryan.
Frank Ryan was the quarterback who led the Cleveland Browns to their last NFL title in 1964. Frank Ryan obtained a bachelor’s degree in physics from Rice University before being drafted by the Los Angeles Rams. He earned his Ph.D. from Rice University taking classes in the off-season. The title of his doctoral thesis was “Characterization of the Set of Asymptotic Values of a Function Holomorphic in the Unit Disc.” Makes perfect sense…right? In addition to playing for the Browns, he finished up at the Washington Redskins.
According to wikipedia, Frank is now retired and living on a farmhouse in Vermont. He “runs a sophisticated self-designed program that helps micro-analyze statistical behavior of the up-and-down pricing movement that underlies the pricing behavior of the futures market. He is also doing work on Oppermann’s conjecture about the distribution of prime numbers.
Once again, Frank’s story proves that hard word and success in math can take you down many paths you might now expect! Check out this article: the 10 Most Educated Players in the NFL. There are several more interesting stories of professional athletes and their success in the classroom and on the NFL field!