This is the fourth of 10 posts revealing the Wisconsin Badgers' 10 nominees for possible induction into SBN Wisconsin's Hall of Fame. The nominees are revealed in order of most votes from the B5Q readership.
"He restored the UW football program to national prominence."
That's the common phrase used to describe what Pat Richter did for the University of Wisconsin and it's not really accurate.
Other than a few scattered successful seasons, the UW football program had never been anywhere near the national radar as far as prominent football programs were concerned. What Richter really did was take Wisconsin athletics to that level for the first time. Today, every aspect of the UW Athletic Department can be traced back to Pat Richter.
Richter was arguably the most versatile athlete Wisconsin has ever seen. He won a total of nine letters in football, basketball and baseball and was a two-time All-American tight end. He helped lead Wisconsin to the 1963 Rose Bowl.
Richter moved on to the NFL where he played eight seasons for the Washington Redskins after they drafted him in the first round of the 1963 draft.
He returned to Wisconsin in 1989 and started transforming the UW Athletic Department into what it is today. Obviously his single most important decision was the hiring of Barry Alvarez, but Richter always had a plan and when the football team started to succeed, he knew what to do with the money. When he took over, the UW Athletic Department had a $2.1 million deficit. When he retired in 2004, it had a $6.4 million reserve.
Richter was also behind the state-of-the-art facilities found on the UW campus today. He made it a priority to move the basketball team out of the Field House and build the Kohl Center. He also transformed Camp Randall Stadium from an old, broken down building with AstroTurf, into a modern, classy building with suites and FieldTurf. Today, Camp Randall is the fourth-largest stadium in the Big Ten despite being the oldest.
Finally, 14 years after hiring Barry Alvarez, Richter made an equally important hire when he picked Bo Ryan to take over the basketball program.
Richter joins Ryan and Alvarez as well as Ron Dayne and six other Badgers on the SBN Wisconsin Hall of Fame ballot. Ten nominees each from the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette Golden Eagles will also be featured on the ballot. Once again, all voting will be done by SBNation readers.