From The People Who Knew Him

“Although it has been over 17 years since I had the privilege to serve as the President of Orange County Community College, I will always remember Paul Rickard. It was obvious that he loved the College and his students. This was often demonstrated with his willingness to always go the “second mile” with his involvement and support of students thru teaching and coaching. As College president I was always impressed with his high standards and his ability to inspire those around him. There is no doubt that he made Orange County Community College a better place and he will be missed by all.”

Dr. Preston Pulliams
SUNY Orange College President 1997-2003

“When I was at Burke, I didn’t take many things seriously other than basketball. Coach Rickard was the first person in my life that really shifted my view of the world and started getting me to think of other things outside of basketball. My GPA skyrocketed when I was here. I look at him as truly the one person in my life that just changed everything. There’s no way I am where I am currently without Mr. Rickard.”

Pat Schultz
SUNY Orange Men’s Basketball Player 2000-2002

“As an athlete out of high school, I didn’t have any institution offer me a scholarship except SUNY Orange. The Rickard family believed in me and helped me grow as an individual off the court and in the classroom. My time at SUNY Orange is something that I still cherish today. Without the Paul Rickard Scholarship the trajectory of my life would be very different. I’m forever in debt to the opportunity I was given.”

Anthony Martin
SUNY Orange Class of 2011 and 2009-2010 Paul Rickard Memorial Scholarship recipient

“Coach Rickard believed greatly in the community college mission and was a tremendous ambassador for SUNY Orange and our athletic department. He thought so highly of SUNY Orange that all seven of his children attended and graduated. Coach believed in hard work, toughness and execution. He was a great sportsman, always setting the example for his players and assistant coaches. The respect he showed to game officials and opposing coaches and players is the main reason that he was so universally respected. Additionally, he had the ability to see and develop the potential in so many student-athletes both on and off the court.”

Wayne Smith
SUNY Orange Director of Athletics

“Coach Rickard is the reason why I wanted to get into coaching.  I played for him at SUNY Orange on his national tournament team and enjoyed every second of it. While I was with Coach Rickard, he taught me everything I know about what it takes to be successful on and off the court.  When I became a coach, I would constantly seek his advice and he would always make me a better coach and person.  I remember when he walked into a game I was coaching and being nervous because I just wanted to make him proud. After the game, he told me good job and walked out, that meant the world to me, as it was his way of approval that I did a great job. I think of Coach Rickard everyday with everything I do and always remembering the valuable lessons he taught me that I use on and off the court.  I am forever grateful for my relationship with Coach Rickard as it has led me to be successful today.”

Dan Lang
SUNY Orange Men’s Basketball Player 2000-2006 and current Head Women’s Basketball Coach at SUNY Sullivan

“Coach always demonstrated integrity without thoughts of being judged. He carried that into every setting and situation without second thoughts. Whenever we spoke he always imparted wisdom. At times I became frustrated even angered because he moved me to conviction that I was not doing the right thing. I didn’t realize or should I say accept it till I was older. Coach was involved in so many things that I often wondered if he slept or if he had 48 hours in his day…I was blessed that Coach Rickard attended a ceremony on a day that was personally exciting and meaningful. Coach presented me with an award and took the opportunity to share a few things about me. For whatever reason no other coach/presenter shared but Coach did. It was as if he was just itching for an opportunity to speak about me and share his experiences. It touched me deeply because he spoke with a sense of pride and affection so much so that my family and friends commented that they could tell I meant something to him. I always knew Coach cared for me but I never realized how much till then. ”

Matt Dillon
SUNY Orange Men’s Basketball Player 1985-1987

“Paul was my Coach at St Mary’s Manhasset for three years and he was great. I have fond memories of our 4-4 pre-season basketball games in the gym where both he and his Brother Joe would play. Joe had little or no game but absolutely bruising hips. Paul, on the other hand had a sweet outside jumper, especially from the corner. We had a lot of real characters on our basketball and keeping that crew in line was a full time job for Paul. However, under Paul’s leadership we had some real success and almost won the Catholic League Championships when we were sophomores. Paul would “always” stop at White Castle on his way home from games or scrimmages. He knew where every one of them was in Brooklyn and Queens. Paul was also instrumental in getting me to continue playing basketball at Manhattanville College, where he recommended me to the coach, who I eventually started a business with years later. ”

Dan Thomas
St. Mary’s High School Class of 1977

“He raised a wonderful family and truly was a great person all around. It was a pleasure working for him as an athletic trainer and seeing him coach all those years. I have fond memories of him, Tom, Walter, Danny and Timmy being in the gym and seeing the dynamics and all the laughs we had. It was also so heart warming to see him in the stands at girls lacrosse games supporting his son Paul. He truly adored his family and was proud of all of them. He will be missed. ”

 Wendy Crandall
Former athletic trainer & colleague at SUNY Orange

“The junior college coach is a special breed. The 2 1/2-decade JUCO coach is a million-dollar Lotto ticket found in a Dumpster. Many of the players have unique academic and societal challenges. Many of them have been discarded more times than they care to remember. Many of them have no other college or athletic options or no one else to turn to…Rickard loved those kids. He hate cutting players, and if the less-talented kid beat everyone in sprints and cleaned the floor chasing loose balls, Rickard found a spot for him not out of pity but of the belief that the kid had a greater chance to improve than the more talented slouch. He recruited almost solely Orange County kids – seeing prospective recruits twice during the season in case they had a bad game the first time – yet made an impact with many New York City kids as well.”

Kevin Gleason
Times Herald Record