Inductee Profile

Al Shrier

shof-2003-Al_Shrier Al Shrier went to work in Temple University’s athletic department when he graduated in 1953. Been there ever since. Never been bored. “I’ve done everything but coach,” Shrier says. “You’re in one place that long, you think you’ve seen everything. But something new pops up every day.” Shrier started as sports information director, moved into business management, was assistant director of athletics and is now, 50 years later, special assistant to the director of athletics. “If you enjoy what you’re doing,” Shrier says, “the years don’t matter.”

Shrier obviously enjoys what he’s doing. He is also very good at it, just one of the reasons he is in Temple’s sports Hall of Fame, the Big Five Hall of Fame, The College Sports Information Directors of America’s Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. They named the media room at the Liacouras Center in his name. In 2002 , Al was named President of the Philadelphia Sportswriters Association. “I was a Speedboy,” Shrier says, referring to his high school days at West Philadelphia. “Anybody who has seen me walk lately, would find that funny.”

He majored in journalism and chose Temple over other job opportunities at the urging of the legendary Josh Cody. When Ernie Casale became athletic director years later, he lured Shrier into the business side of the athletic program. “My first love is still sports information, the writing,” Shrier says. “I consider that my profession.” When he makes his acceptance speech tonight, something will be missing, Shrier’s trademark briefcase. He has guarded its contents from prying eyes down through the years. “It’s amazing,” Shrier says. “I’ve had people come out of the water at the Jersey shore and holler, ‘Where’s the briefcase?’ “Even at social outings, people will ask about it. Hey, I can’t carry it 24 hours a day. It gets a little nuts out there. Nobody gets to look inside. You’ve got to keep ’em guessing.”

Shrier hesitates when asked to name the favorite coach he’s worked with down through the years, for fear of hurting anyone’s feelings. “I was a kid, a student, and one of my first assignments was to interview the guy with the cigar, Harry Litwack,” Shrier recalls. “After that, it became a family relationship. Harry was family. John Chaney, terrific guy, he’s in another category. Both were great teachers. Not just coaches, but teachers.” He names Guy Rodgers as the most memorable player. “He came in shy, quiet,” Shrier recalls. “First speaking engagement I took him to, I thought he was going to pass out. He went on to become a great speaker.” People had Shrier tabbed as a devout bachelor. He stunned them all by marrying Ruth in 1969. “I shun the spotlight,” Shrier says modestly. “It’s my job to get other people interviewed. That’s what I enjoy.”