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BW alumnus carries success from field to top of collegiate athletics

Photo of Randale RichmondAlthough Randale Richmond '04 admits to not being the best hitter in baseball, he was fast, and he played good defense in the outfield. So, one of his assistant coaches asked Richmond if he would play for his football team the next fall.

Football then "really became my vehicle" - one that got Richmond to George Finnie Stadium at Baldwin Wallace University and on his way to becoming the director of athletics at Kent State University.

"When we played all the sports in the yard and in different neighborhoods, I mean football was always the thing you played in Ohio," Richmond recalled.

Richmond began to realize his athletic potential while in high school, playing up on junior varsity as a freshman and, eventually, becoming the Akron City Series Offensive Most Valuable Player as a senior. The first in his family to graduate high school, playing college football was an option. Richmond just didn't know where yet.

Campus tour changes everything

Originally committed to Walsh University in Canton, Ohio, he decided to visit Baldwin Wallace to get out of AP English class one day. Working in the recreation center at the time, David Painter '98 spotted Richmond wearing his high school jersey and asked the tour chaperone if he could take him to meet head football coach Bob Packard '64.

"I met Bob Packard that day, and he began to talk to me. After that, they started looking at my film," said Richmond. "That's how I got introduced to football at BW. It was a snowy, cold day that I'm there on campus. But for some reason, it felt like the place I was supposed to be."

Athlete and scholar

In his Yellow Jacket career, Richmond was a three-year letterwinner at running back and played on special teams as a punt and kick returner. He also competed in track and field for one season.

However, a majority of his success came off the football field. Richmond was both a first-team Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection and a Verizon Academic All-District IV selection, a resident assistant and one of the University's 10 Outstanding Seniors upon graduation, just to name a few things.

Passion for higher education

Photo of Randale RichmondMajoring in education, Richmond thought he knew exactly how his career was going to shake out. He was going to be a math and history middle school teacher as well as a coach. However, while doing his senior year methods teaching, Richmond started to envision another career path.

"I found myself teaching to a test in those communities instead of educating, and I wanted to be an educator," Richmond explained. "I didn't feel like that was going to be a match for me. I felt like I was going to be one of the people burned out in five years."

A conversation with Denise Reading, former vice president of student affairs, led Richmond to the higher education program at Kent State with a few different opportunities at his fingertips.

"I had an opportunity to either be an RA (resident assistant) or a hall director here at Kent," Richmond explained. "I was going to work for Upward Bound because I had worked for Upward Bound for many years at BW or (the) athletics opportunity. When it came to the athletics opportunity, it was the one I knew the least about in terms of administration, but I love sports. So, I wanted that one."

Richmond started as a graduate assistant for compliance and eligibility in the fall of 2004 and spent over a decade with the Golden Flashes, eventually moving his way up the ranks to associate athletic director of student-athlete academic services and compliance.

He then spent six years as the senior associate athletic director for sport administration and student-athlete welfare at Old Dominion University before returning to Kent State in May as the new director of athletics.

Confident in his purpose

Richmond started his director position in May and will seek to make a lasting impact within the Kent State athletic department, within the campus community and beyond.

"I know God has put me in this position for a reason, so it's making sure that I live within that purpose," Richmond said. "For me, it's to be a transformational leader who has a positive impact on people's lives that resonates well beyond sports. I know that's why I'm here. I know that's why I'm in this role, to have that type of positive impact on people so they can be their best selves."

The original version of this story first appeared on Edited and reprinted with permission.

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