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Former University of Wisconsin athletic director and star athlete Pat Richter was named this year’s recipient of the Big Ten Conference’s Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award.

The award is given by the conference to former student-athletes who have achieved success in leadership after their playing careers. Richter is the first UW alum to be given the award, which began in 2011.

Richter was a three-sport athlete for the Badgers, starring in football, basketball and baseball before playing for Washington in the NFL. One of his most memorable games for UW came in the 1963 Rose Bowl, when he caught 11 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown in the Badgers’ 42-37 loss to Southern Cal. He played tight end and punted for Washington before retiring in 1971.

Richter returned to UW to earn a law degree before practicing law in the area then joining the Oscar Mayer Corporation. He was hired as UW’s athletic director in 1989 and revitalized the department during his 15-year run. Richter’s leadership helped UW eliminate a $2.1 million debt in athletics and eventually built a $6 million surplus, build and renovate campus athletic facilities and add three sports. He also was responsible for the hiring of football coach Barry Alvarez, who turned the UW program from doormat to conference champion in four seasons.

For his accomplishments at UW, Richter has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (1997), UW Athletic Department Hall of Fame (1991) and Rose Bowl Hall of Fame (1994).

Richter is now an advisor at DHR Global.


This article originally ran on madison.com.

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