Robert Rich Sr.

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Athlete, Businessman and Buffalo Bisons Owner

Robert E. Rich, Sr. in many ways embodies what the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame is all about. In his time Rich was an outstanding athlete and coach, and a proven leader in both capacities. He captained the University of Buffalo football team for two years (1933-34) and played a major role in founding the UB wrestling program, captaining the team in 1933 and serving as its student coach in 1934.

After graduation, as he was founding what was to become a successful business at Buffalo-based Rich Products Corp., Rich coached high school and college freshman football. Rich was also an outstanding squash player, representing the city of Buffalo in tournaments throughout North America and captaining the United States Lapham Cup team in 1952.

Despite these athletic and coaching achievements, it is Rich’s numerous contributions behind the scenes of Buffalo amateur and professional sports which speak loudest. As a young businessman, Rich founded and headed up the University of Buffalo’s Christmas Scholarship Fund which made 30 annual scholarships available to outstanding scholar-athletes. Just months ago, Rich recommitted his support of the University at Buffalo by challenging many of Buffalo’s area businesses to join him in a scholarship program to assure the university’s success in Division I athletics.

Rich’s support of professional sports in Buffalo is also well documented. In 1965, he was a charter member of a group which attempted to bring a National Hockey League franchise to Buffalo. In 1972, through Rich Products, he purchased the naming rights of the new football stadium for the Buffalo Bills. In 1988, he authorized the purchase which kept the Buffalo Bisons in town. Under his chairmanship of the Bisons, the city build Pilot Field (now Coca-Cola Field), which has become a tremendous source of city pride and national attention.