The first time that Michael Rickard attended college, he wasn't a model student. Like many freshman, he focused too much on extracurricular activities to succeed in the classroom. Fortunately, he eventually found a way to make extracurricular activities ensure student success for others.
Before returning to college, he worked for several years as a service representative for American Lincoln Industrial. At that job, he found himself in charge of the company's recreational and team-building activities. At management's request, Rickard started the company softball team and organized bowling tournaments.
It was then that he realized that he enjoyed working in the recreation field and he was ready to do something different with his life.
Rickard decided to take a risk and start at Owens Community College in 1979 in Recreational Technology. His first grade card was quite a turnaround from his previous college venture. In fact, that first straight A report card gave him the confidence to quit his job and pursue a new career.
While at Owens, he was involved with the basketball team. It opened the door for his first recreation job on the basketball team staff. He eventually became the Assistant Coach.
After graduating from Owens on the dean's list, Rickard transferred to The University of Toledo and graduated with a bachelor's degree in recreational sports/athletic management. He later attended Bowling Green State University for his master's degree.
He was hired as Assistant to the Athletic Director at Owens after earning his bachelor's. Today, he is the Athletics Director of Student Life and Athletics.
After 30 years working in athletics for Owens, Rickard is most proud of the academic success of his student athletes.
"We have a great track record of our athletes performing well academically. We push them to do better in the classrooms; we track their progress and give them extra help if it is needed," said Rickard.
In fact, of the 120 athletes that participated in one of seven sports during the last academic year, 22 received an All-Academic Award from the Ohio Community College Athletic conference for academic excellence.
"I am most proud of the success our student athletes have off the field. The personal growth they show always impresses me," said Rickard.