Grantland Rice was an early 20th century American sportswriter known for his elegant prose. His writing was published in newspapers around the country and broadcast on the radio.
Henry Grantland Rice was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the son of Bolling H. Rice, a cotton dealer, and his wife, Beulah Grantland Rice. His grandfather Major H.W. Rice was a Confederate veteran of the Civil War.
Rice attended Montgomery Bell Academy and Vanderbilt University?where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta?in Nashville. After taking early jobs with the Atlanta Journal and the Cleveland News, he later became a sportswriter for the Nashville Tennessean. Afterwards he obtained a series of prestigious jobs with major newspapers in the Northeastern United States. He is best-known for being the successor to Walter Camp in the selection of college football All-America teams beginning in 1925, and for being the writer who dubbed the great backfield of the Notre Dame team of 1924 the “Four Horsemen” of Notre Dame. A Biblical reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, this famous account was published in the New York Herald Tribune on October 18, describing the Notre Dame vs. Army game played at the Polo Grounds:
The passage added great import to the event described and elevated it to a level far beyond that of a mere football game. This passage, although famous, is far from atypical, as Rice’s writing tended to be of an “inspirational” or “heroic” style, raising games to the level of ancient combat and their heroes to the status of demigods. He became even better known after his columns were nationally syndicated beginning in 1930, and became known as the “Dean of American Sports Writers”. He and his writing are among the reasons that the 1920s in the United States are sometimes referred to as the “Golden Age of Sports”.