Rugby America

Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective

Former Cal Rugger Elected To Football Hall Of Fame

Les Richter, who captained the rugby team and co-captained the football team at California from 1949-51 and served two years in the military before his nine-year professional gridiron career, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on February 5th.

After graduating as valedictorian with a degree in business administration, Richter was drafted in the first round as the second overall pick by the New York Yanks, who folded and gave his rights to the Dallas Texans (now the Colts). Richter was then traded to the then-L.A. Rams for 11 players prior to playing his first game in what is still the largest deal ever made in pro football for a single player.

Richter served two years in Korea as a First Lieutenant in the Army before returning to play for the Rams. He went on to play in eight Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro in 1956 as well as the Rams’ defensive captain for a total of six seasons.

Also a member of the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame and the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame, Richter became one of the co-owners of Riverside International Raceway and helped turn that track into one of the finest in the world after retiring from football. He also co-founded the International Race of Champions, became a vice president of NASCAR and played a dominant role in the development of California Speedway. He was inducted into the Motor Sports Hall of Fame of America in 2009.

Induction ceremonies for Richter, who passed away on June 12, 2010, at the age of 79, will take place on Saturday August 6th in Canton, Ohio.

Since the rugby program was founded at Cal in 1882, former Rugby Bears have contributed 95 years of service to the NFL as players and coaches. Playing for 15 teams and two Hall of Fame coaches along the way, these former players earned seven rings in nine trips to the Super Bowl, four All-Pro/All-NFL selections, three Pro Bowl nods, two team captaincies and a first-round draft selection.


5 comments on “Former Cal Rugger Elected To Football Hall Of Fame

  1. MattyP
    February 9, 2011

    Please change the title to this article. A rugby player is not a “rugger”. Stupid misuse of a slang word for the game of rugby.

    • Big5
      February 10, 2011

      I dont know what you’re thinking MattyP but Rugger is a proper term used for a rugby player.

      Talk about a “stupid misuse”… that was a stupid misuse of a post.

  2. Rugby America
    February 9, 2011


    The title is fine as it stands although I do appreciate the feedback. The word was used correctly by definition.

    From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

    Function: noun
    Plural: rug·gers

    1 [count] US informal : a person who plays rugby ▪ college ruggers
    2 [noncount] Brit informal : rugby union ▪ He plays rugger.

  3. grammar police
    February 9, 2011


    You are confusing what you like with what is accurate. You may not like the term, “rugger”, but that does not mean it is inaccurate. So instead you should say something along the lines, “I really dislike the term “rugger.” It doesn’t make sense to the non-rugby community. We dont call football players “footballers” or basketball players “basketballers.”” Something like that. But whether you like it or not, many in the current rugby community like the term and will use it often. Perhaps if rugby explodes among people who dont know anything about rugby then some of the culture may be lost in the sport’s rapid adoption. A football coach that sees rugby this weekend on tv may say “i want my playes to play this” and start a team. If this is done in a vacuum then that coach probably wont be bringing all of the lingo (boots, ruggers, kit, etC) with him when he starts up the program. he will just be bringing the bare essentials. As in the rules and how to play the game.

  4. Ryan Jones
    February 10, 2011

    Hi any colleges looking for a experienced half back, 20 years old , originally from new zealand now live in australia. please contact me on

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This entry was posted on February 9, 2011 by in College Rugby, Collegiate Men, Rugby News.

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