Les Richter

Last updated

Les Richter
Richter (left) in 1959
No. 67, 48
Position: Linebacker, guard, kicker
Personal information
Born:(1930-10-06)October 6, 1930
Fresno, California, U.S.
Died:June 12, 2010(2010-06-12) (aged 79)
Riverside, California, U.S.
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:238 lb (108 kg)
Career information
High school: Fresno
College: California
NFL Draft: 1952  / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Fumble recoveries:12
Player stats at NFL.com  ·  PFR

Leslie Alan Richter (October 6, 1930 – June 12, 2010) was an American professional football player who was a linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams of National Football League (NFL). He also served as the head of operations for NASCAR and president of the Riverside International Raceway. Richter was twice a consensus All-American for the California Golden Bears. With the Rams, he played in eight Pro Bowls. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.


Football career

Richter in 1959 Les Richter 1959.jpg
Richter in 1959

At the University of California, Berkeley, Richter played guard and linebacker for the California Golden Bears. He was twice recognized as a consensus All-American and first-team All-Pacific Coast, in 1950 and 1951. He was valedictorian of his graduating class of 1952. [1] After graduation, he served in the Korean War for the U.S. Army for two years. [2] He was a first-round draft choice of the NFL's New York Yanks, the second pick overall, in the 1952 NFL Draft. The Yanks folded before the 1952 season, and the Dallas Texans assumed the rights to Richter. They traded him to the Los Angeles Rams for eleven players, [1] the second largest deal ever made for a single player.

During his nine years with the Rams, Richter did not miss a game, playing through various injuries including a broken cheekbone. [3] [2] He scored 193 points, which included a touchdown, 106 extra points, and 29 field goals. On defense, he intercepted 16 passes. His 24 field goals attempted during the 1955 season led the NFL. [4] The Rams struggled during that time, winning six or more games four times in nine seasons. [3] The high mark for the team was in 1955, when it reached the championship game and lost to the Cleveland Browns. [5] Richter was selected to eight straight Pro Bowls, from 1954 to 1961, and was four times recognized as a first-team All-Pro. He played center for his final season, in 1962, taking over for injured starter Art Hunter. [1]

Racing executive and later years

After retiring from football, Richter was involved with auto racing in a variety of positions. He was Riverside International Raceway manager from 1959 to 1983, then vice-president of special projects for International Speedway Corporation, chairman of the board for the International Race of Champions, and senior vice president of operations for NASCAR. [6] [5]

Richter died on June 12, 2010, at age 79 of a brain aneurysm. [5] As a lieutenant with the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Richter was buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California. At the time of his death, Richter was working at the Auto Club Speedway, owned by ISC formally owned by Penske Racing that also owned Michigan International Speedway, Nazareth Speedway, Pikes Peak International Raceway and North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham NC

Richter was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982. In 2011, he was posthumously elected as a senior candidate to the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2011 along with former Washington Redskins linebacker Chris Hanburger. [3] The induction class also included Deion Sanders, Richard Dent, Marshall Faulk, Ed Sabol, Shannon Sharpe.

He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2009. [7]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roger McCluskey</span> American racing driver

Roger McCluskey was an American IndyCar driver. He was from Tucson, Arizona.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roger Penske</span> American businessman and entrepreneur

Roger Searle Penske is an American businessman and entrepreneur involved in professional auto racing and a retired professional auto racing driver. He is well-known through his ownership of Team Penske, DJR Team Penske, the Penske Corporation, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar, and other automotive-related businesses.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Riverside International Raceway</span> Motorsport track in the United States

Riverside International Raceway was a motorsports race track and road course established in the Edgemont area of Riverside County, California, just east of the city limits of Riverside and 50 mi (80 km) east of Los Angeles, in 1957. In 1984, the raceway became part of the newly incorporated city of Moreno Valley. Riverside was noted for its hot, dusty environment and for being somewhat of a complicated and dangerous track for drivers. It was also considered one of the finest tracks in the United States. The track was in operation from September 22, 1957, to July 2, 1989, with the last race, The Budweiser 400, won by Rusty Wallace, held in 1988. After that final race, a shortened version of the circuit was kept open for car clubs and special events until 1989.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Troy Ruttman</span> American racing driver

Troy Lynn Ruttman was an American race car driver. He was the older brother of Jimmy Ruttman, and NASCAR driver Joe Ruttman.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richie Evans</span> American racing driver

Richard Ernest Evans, was an American racing driver who won nine NASCAR National Modified Championships, including eight in a row from 1978 to 1985. The International Motorsports Hall of Fame lists this achievement as "one of the supreme accomplishments in motorsports". Evans won virtually every major race for asphalt modifieds, most of them more than once, including winning the Race of Champions three times. Evans was elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame on June 14, 2011. As one of the Class of 2012, Evans is one of the Hall's first 15 inductees, and is the first Hall of Famer from outside the now NASCAR Cup Series.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Buck Baker</span> American racecar driver

Elzie Wylie Baker Sr., better known as Buck Baker, was an American stock car racer. Born in Richburg, South Carolina, Baker began his NASCAR career in 1949 and won his first race three years later at Columbia Speedway. Twenty-seven years later, Baker retired after 1976 National 500.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Donnie Allison</span> American racecar driver

Donnie Allison is an American former driver on the NASCAR Grand National/Winston Cup circuit, who won ten times during his racing career, which spanned from 1966 to 1988. He is part of the "Alabama Gang", and is the brother of 1983 champion Bobby Allison and uncle of Davey Allison and Clifford Allison. He was inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hershel McGriff</span> American stock car driver

Hershel Eldridge McGriff Sr. is an American professional stock car racing driver. A long-time competitor in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, formerly known as the Winston West Series, he won the series' 1986 championship, and is also a four-time winner in Grand National competition. He most recently drove the No. 04 Toyota Camry for Bill McAnally Racing in 2018.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jack Ingram (racing driver)</span> American racing driver (1936–2021)

Jack Ingram was an American NASCAR Busch Series race car driver. Nicknamed the "Iron Man", during eight seasons in the Busch Series, he won 31 races and 5 poles, as well as the 1982 and 1985 championships. Unlike most younger competitors, Ingram won his 31 races between the age of 45 and age 50.

Coy Randall Gibbs was an American NASCAR driver, assistant coach with the Washington Redskins, and co-owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. He was the son of Joe Gibbs, five-time NASCAR Cup Series championship-winning owner and Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Willard Leo "Bill" "Billy" Cantrell was a midget, sprint, and stock car racing driver from Anaheim, California. He was nicknamed the "Silver Fox" for his gray hair and sly tricks.

Ray Hendrick was an American race car driver. He was known as "Mr. Modified" during his 36-year career in motorsports, mainly in the modified stock car racing class.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chris Economaki</span> American journalist

Christopher Constantine Economaki was an American motorsports commentator, pit road reporter, and journalist. Economaki was given the title "The Dean of American Motorsports Journalism." He was an inductee of several halls of fame, including the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dave Steele</span> American racing driver

David Steele was an American professional racing driver who won numerous sprint car racing championships and also competed in IndyCar and NASCAR races. Steele last drove a winged sprint car in the Southern Sprintcar Shootout Series, where he won the first 5 races in series history. Steele was killed in a crash at Desoto Speedway on March 25, 2017.

William A. Foster was a Canadian racecar driver.

The 1952 National Football League Draft was held on January 17, 1952, at Hotel Statler in New York. Selections made by New York Yanks were assigned to the new Dallas Texans.

James Michael Cofer is a former professional American football player who attended Charlotte Country Day School. A 6'2", 197 lb (89 kg) placekicker from North Carolina State University, Cofer kicked in the National Football League for eight seasons from 1987–1993 and 1995. In the 1990s and 2002, he was also a stock car racing driver in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

Elliott Forbes-Robinson is a road racing race car driver. He is known for his race wins and championships in many different series, including the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), Super Vee, Trans-Am Series, CanAm, IMSA GTU, and the World Challenge. He is known in NASCAR circles as a road course ringer. He is also a founder of the Legends Cars of 600 Racing and he designed their original car.

Ollen Bruton Smith was a promoter and owner/CEO of NASCAR track owner Speedway Motorsports, Inc. He was inducted into NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2016 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007. He was billionaire on the Forbes 400 list.

Scott Andrew Fraser was a Canadian professional racing car driver from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. Fraser was considered by many to be one of the best stock car racers in Canada.


  1. 1 2 3 Tuttle, Tim (June 17, 2010). "Richter remembered as West Coast 'motorsports pioneer'". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  2. 1 2 Brandt, Gil (July 31, 2011). "Ten things you didn't know about Les Richter". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  3. 1 2 3 Fryer, Jenna (August 3, 2011). "Les Richter makes Hall 50 years after final game". USA Today. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  4. "Les Richter Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  5. 1 2 3 Peltz, Jim (June 13, 2010). "Les Richter dies at 79; ex-Ram guided auto racing's growth in Southern California". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  6. Former Riverside Raceway boss Richter honored - Road Racing World, 3 February 2004
  7. Les Richter at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America