Brian Roberts is known throughout the world as the Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation. What is far less known about Roberts is that he was a squash player who won a gold medal with the U.S. squash team in 2005 and silver at the 1981, 1985, 1997 and 2009 Maccabiah Games in Israel.
A graduate of Germantown Academy, Roberts captained the varsity squash team and was Sports Editor of the yearbook. Four years later he not only earned a BS in Economics from Wharton but was also named a First-Team All-Ivy League squash player.
As a freshman player at Penn, Roberts was 6’2″ and weighed around 125 pounds. To bulk him up, legendary coach Al Molloy put him on a strenuous weight-lifting regimen. To toughen him up, Molloy had him play matches against Phillies icon Richie Ashburn who played a notoriously physical game of squash. On the locker room chalkboard, Molloy had written No Pain, No Gain and Roberts adopted those words as one of his codes for life.
By his sophomore season, Roberts had become a key component of the Quakers varsity. Against arch-rival Harvard that season, the outcome came down to Roberts’ match. All through Molloy’s long coaching career, Harvard was the team he most wanted to defeat. In his pre-match advice he told Roberts “This is Harvard. You’ll remember this match for the rest of your life…do whatever you must to win.” Roberts won. Penn won. Molloy and the players celebrated on their great victory.
Molloy treated squash not as a genteel elite game, but more like Big Ten football. Roberts responded to that philosophy. As a senior he was the team’s number one player and its captain. After graduation came his cache of silver medals in the Maccabiah Games including one in the over-35 division. Molloy was with him in spirit on every point.
In June of 1999, at Roberts 40th birthday party, Molloy gave him the framed scoring sheet from that cherished Harvard victory, taken right off the coach’s office wall.
Today, Roberts heads a company which not only has become a Fortune 100 Company but is also one of the nation’s leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services. Comcast is majority owner of Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the Philadelphia Flyers, the Philadelphia 76ers and the arena in which they play. Brian Roberts and his wife live in Philadelphia with their three children.