UW This Season: Al Rich will be a leading All-America candidate at safety in 2001. He entered the 2000 season as a preseason All-American in Street and Smith's Preseason College Football magazine. One of the most fearless tacklers that has ever put on a Cowboy uniform, he will begin the 2001 season needing 71 tackles to enter the career Top 10 list in University of Wyoming history. Rich enters this season as healthy as he has been in nearly two years. After earning All-Conference honors at safety in 1998, as a sophomore, he suffered through shoulder and wrist injuries in 1999. Despite suffering with injuries, he didn't miss a start in the '99 season. In 2000, he missed 10 of 11 games, playing only the first game of the season at Auburn before undergoing his second wrist surgery in a matter of months. He also had wrist surgery in the offseason between the 1999 and 2000 seasons. Rich was granted a medical hardship by the NCAA following the 2000 season, gaining his senior season back. He was elected team captain by his teammates in the spring of 2001. 2000: For the sake of the team, Rich switched from safety to running back to begin the 2000 season. (He was an outstanding high school running back at Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs, Colo.) Rich started at running back for the Pokes in the season opener at Auburn, carrying the ball 13 times for 35 yards. After the Auburn game, however, he was forced to undergo his second wrist surgery. He achieved Academic All-Conference honors for the third consecutive season. 1999: He entered the `99 season as one of only 37 defensive backs nationally to be named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, honoring the nation's top defensive back. Rich ranked fourth on the Cowboy squad in tackles in `99 with 75, while playing with an injured shoulder and wrist. He tied for 10th place in the MWC in interceptions with three, and tied for third in fumbles recovered with two. An excellent student, Rich earned Academic All-Conference honors for the second consecutive year, achieving a 3.27 grade point average in broadcasting. 1998: Rich was named First Team All-Conference while leading the Cowboys in tackles with 74 -- 60 solo tackles. He also had two interceptions, five passes broken up, and made four tackles for losses, as well as recovering two fumbles. His First Team All-Conference selection as a sophomore in `98 made him only the 10th sophomore in Wyoming history to earn First Team All-Conference honors. In addition to being named an all-conference player, he also was an Academic All-WAC and a WAC Scholar-Athlete and earned conference Player of the Week honors for his performance in a 27-19 road win over archrival Colorado State. Rich made 10 tackles, intercepted one pass, recovered one fumble and broke up a pass versus CSU. He also enjoyed an amazing game against Air Force, making 15 tackles -- two of those tackles for losses. 1997: Appeared in all 13 games, starting three as a true freshman due to injuries to Greg Van Leer and All-American Brian Lee. Made 28 tackles his freshman season, intercepted two passes, credited with breaking up three passes, caused two fumbles and recovered one fumble. He had one interception against San Diego State, which he returned for 13 yards, and his second interception came against UNLV, which he returned 28 yards. A member of a Wyoming secondary that ranked No. 6 in the nation in pass defense and set a school record with 24 interceptions for the season. High School: Had an outstanding football and track career at Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs. A linebacker, running back and punter in high school, he rushed for over 1,500 yards as a senior. He was an All-Conference and All-Region selection as both a junior and senior. In track and field, he was an excellent hurdler, ranking in the top three in the state of Colorado in both the 110-meter hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles. He also ran on the 4 x 100-meter relay team and the 4 x 200-meter squad -- both of which placed at the Colorado State Championships. Coached in high school by Tom Sandoval. Rich was also recruited by Montana State and Northern Arizona. Personal: Born Jan. 3, 1979 in Wiesbaden, Germany, he is one of three children of Dolores and Alfred Rich. He is majoring in broadcasting.
AL RICH CAREER STATISTICS
SACKS/ TFL/ INT/ YEAR G UT AT TT YDS YDS FF FR PBU YDS 1997 13 18 10 28 0/0 0/0 2 1 3 2/41 1998 10 60 14 74 0/0 4/6 1 2 5 2/23 1999 11 53 22 75 0/0 1/1 0 2 6 3/59 2000 No stats. Received a medical hardship from the NCAA. Totals 34 131 46 177 0/0 5/7 3 5 14 7/123
Rich Approaching Wyoming Career Top 10 in Tackles: Senior safety Al Rich has enjoyed an outstanding career at Wyoming. As a sophomore in 1998, he joined some exclusive company by earning First Team All-Conference honors. He became only the 10th Wyoming Cowboy to earn First Team All-Conference honors his sophomore season.
Rich led Wyoming in total tackles in '98 with 74, and he ranked fourth on the Cowboy squad in `99 with 75 total tackles, despite suffering through an injury-plagued year. He enters his senior season with 177 career tackles, needing 71 to move into the Top 10 in Career Tackles at UW.
Below are the Top 10 tackle leaders in UW school history:
Player Years Total Tackles 1. Galand Thaxton, lb 1984-87 467 2. Jim Talich, lb 1994-97 440 3. John Salley, s 1979-82 379 4. Ken Fantetti, lb 1975-78 352 5. Mike Schenbeck, lb 1985-88 324 6. Bruce Mowry, lb 1982-84 311 7. Brian Brown, lb 1996-98 303 8. Aaron Kyle, s 1972-75 275 9. Pete Benedetti, s 1982-85 259 10. Mitch Donahue, de 1987-90 248