Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
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.