PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio – The Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) recently honored the legacy of former Express
Director of Athletics Michael Rickard who passed away unexpectedly in December 2010 by hosting a tribute ceremony in his honor at halftime of a recent Owens Community College basketball game.
During the ceremony, OCCAC representatives officially renamed the Athletic Director of the Year Award after Michael Rickard and presented the first award to his family in attendance.
“Michael Rickard was one of the most respected Athletic Directors, not only in the OCCAC, but in the region,” said Jack Giambrone, Athletic Director and Professor at Sinclair Community College. “He was a dedicated professional who had Owens and his student-athletes always at the forefront of any of his decisions or creation of any policy. Michael loved anything that had a positive influence on the Owens family and Express athletics. He was also a good friend and the conference is honored to rededicate the Athletic Director of the Year Award as the Michael Rickard OCCAC Athletic Director of the Year Award.”
Rickard worked in various athletic capacities for the College for more than 30 years, including full time since 1985 and as Athletic Director since July 2000. He was devoted to the Owens Express as he worked with coaches, student-athletes, parents, and faculty and staff through many seasons of wins and losses.
He was acknowledged by his peers for his leadership among community college athletic directors, as well as by opposing coaches and administrators who received respect and fair treatment when they visited the College. In addition, Owens student-athletes excelled in the classroom and on the athletic playing field as 88 student-athletes earned academic or athletic All-American honors from the NJCAA during his tenure.
A 1982 Owens graduate and a 1984 University of Toledo graduate with a bachelor’s degree in education and recreation/sports management, Rickard was named Athletic Director of the Year for 1995-96, 1999-2000, 2003-04 and 2009-10 by the OCCAC. He has been associated with Express athletic teams since the 1979-80 season, serving as a scorekeeper, statistician and assistant coach at times. From 1999-2001, he served as the Commissioner of the OCCAC.
Rickard was named to the Executive Committee of the National Alliance of Two-Year College Athletics Administrators in 2010 and also was a member of the Owens Alumni Association Board of Directors. His accomplishments include being honored by the Rotary Club of Maumee with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship for his contributions in the Toledo community.
Owens Community College is an accredited two-year, state-assisted institution of higher education that has served Northwest Ohio since 1965. With a commitment to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability, the College serves the diverse academic needs of credit and non-credit students on the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, as well as at the Arrowhead Park Learning Center in Maumee and the Learning Center at The Source in downtown Toledo. Owens offers associate degrees that transfer to baccalaureate degrees in the Arts and Sciences and over 130 technical program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health Sciences, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Skilled Trades, and Engineering and Transportation Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor’s degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university. For more information, visit www.owens.edu.