Top 100 Irish America's Finest In Sport "What we talk about is great effort outstanding preparat
Off the court, O'Brien, a Medford, Massachusetts native, who has also been involved with the Plummer Home, a residential home in Salem for boys from troubled homes, inspires his players to work hard not just in sports but in the classroom.
"He has an incredible record of getting guys into college," says Neil Swidey, author of The Assist: Hoops, Hope and the Game of their Lives (Public Affairs).
The Assist is the result of a three-part series Swidey did on Coach O'Brien and the Charlestown High team for the Globe Magazine in 2004. He went on to spend three years documenting the lives of O'Brien and his players.
Swidey's roots are Irish as well. His maternal grandfather, Patrick Ridge, was born in Galway, while Patrick's wife Nora O'Brien was born in Clare.
Justin McBride rides bulls for a living. On the Professional Bull Riders Build Ford Tough Series since 1999, McBride has had his ribs broken, his lung punctured and his ankle shattered in a sport where making mistakes means a lot more than being told off by your coach.
But such an unforgiving sport produces hardy men, and McBride is one of the hardiest. The two-time world champion (2005 and 2007) had an amazing season last year when he not only clinched his second world title, but also recorded the most tour victories in one season (eight) and the most career wins (30) to date.
The 28-year-old also broke the one-season earnings record with his 2007 haul of $835,321. McBride had surgery to reconstruct his left shoulder (he rode while injured in the 2007 World Championships) last November and is currently working hard on his rehabilitation.
Away from the rodeo, Justin is married to Jill. The couple have one daughter, Addison Claire and live in Oklahoma. Just before he won the 2007 title he released his first country album, Don't Let Go. No guessing as to where he got his inspiration for that title!
2008 has already proved that there's no rest for the weary, at least not for Davis Cup winners. U.S. team captain Patrick McEnroe is already preparing his team for the Summer Olympics as well as the defense of their Davis Cup crown. McEnroe, luckily, is familiar with pressure. A world-class tennis player, he had his greatest success as a doubles player, winning 17 professional titles in his career, including the 1989 French Open with Jim Grabb. His career-high doubles ranking was # 3. As a singles player McEnroe won one title, in 1995 in Sydney.
McEnroe took over as Davis Cup team captain in 2000 after his brother, tennis legend John McEnroe, retired. It was the Davis Cup that brought the McEnroe men back to Ireland in 1983, where the McEnroe patriarch, JP, traces his ancestry to Belfast.
When not training for the Davis Cup, McEnroe works as a sports analyst and commentator for ESPN. He is married to actress Melissa Errico, who is from his hometown of Manhasset, New York.
Without protection from the offensive linemen, often the forgotten men of football, the quarterback is a sitting duck. Shaun O'Hara, New York Giants' 303-pound 6-foot-3-inch center, is a Giant in every sense of the word. It was a typical gracious gesture when O'Hara turned the spotlight on quarterback Eli Manning as the Super Bowl hero.
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