Rickard remembered for dedication to OwensWritten by Kristen Criswell | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Owens Community College Athletic Director Michael Rickard, 60, died unexpectedly Dec. 27. The long-time Owens’ employee took a “genuine interest” in people, according to his colleagues.
“Mike was extremely friendly and inviting. He treated everybody with importance,” said Michael Llanas, Owens’ women’s basketball coach.
Rickard was interested in more than just the student as an athlete, but cared how they developed as an individual, said Laura Moore, executive director of the Owens Alumni Association.
“I sat down with him one time about the student athletes and all he put in place to make sure students were successful. I was really blown away by everything he did,” she said.
Rickard put his signature on Owens athletics, helping the program grow since the early ’90s, according to Chris Giordano, dean of students at Owens.
Most recently, Rickard was the force behind bringing intercollegiate women’s soccer to the school, Giordano said.
Rickard, a 1982 Owens graduate, was involved with Owens athletics for more than 30 years.
He first got involved as a scorekeeper in 1980 and served as the coordinator of athletics and intramurals for several years before being named the athletic director.
“He was just synonymous with Owens athletics. It’s difficult to think of it without him,” Giordano said. “Michael was always in that facility and at a moment’s notice would step in and do whatever needed to be done. He was committed to the college and the student athletes.”
When the golf coach underwent surgery, Rickard stepped in for the team, Giordano said. In addition, Rickard would also travel with the baseball and softball teams.
Llanas said Rickard was humble and although he had plenty of chances to speak with the media, he always deferred to the students and coaches themselves.
“It was always about the kids and the coaches, about everyone else except for him,” he said.
In 1995-1996 and 1999-2000, Rickard was named the
“Athletic Director of the Year” by the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference.
In addition to being heavily involved with sports at the college, Rickard was also a member of the school’s alumni board.
Rickard was instrumental in the re-establishing of the board in 2003 and served as the board vice president from July 2003 to September 2005, Moore said.
“Michael was a great colleague and a genuine people person,” she said. “He had such a wealth of knowledge of the college and knew how to engage the students, now alumni, in activities at Owens.”
Rickard also served as signature fundraiser for the board and was part of the planning committee for the alumni golf classic.
Rickard is survived by his two children, Alexa and Austin.