Mike Richards of Bluffton has been named the new commissioner of the Three Rivers Athletic Conference.
Richards succeeds Ken Myers, who resigned after serving as commissioner for the conference’s first two years of existence.
Richards, 62, has a resume that appears well suited to the duties of a conference commissioner. He is a former teacher, coach, athletic director, and a track and field official for 30 years, as well as a past president and vice president of the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s state athletic board, and he served 15 years on the Northwest District Athletic Board.
“It’s one of the most outstanding big-school leagues in the state of Ohio, and it’s still in its infancy,” Richards said. “Ken Myers has done a great job, and the league has already had a lot of success.
“The schools that make up the league have an excellent academic as well as athletic tradition, and a lot of pride. That’s why it’s a very attractive league, and will continue to be so.”
In its first two years, the TRAC has made solid statewide showings in multiple sports, including Central Catholic’s Division II state football championship and Whitmer’s D-I state runner-up finish last fall, Whitmer’s D-I boys basketball state runner-up finish in 2012, and St. Ursula’s D-I volleyball state runner-up finish in 2011. Findlay reached the volleyball semifinals in 2011, and St. Ursula last year.
Richards has been superintendent of the Allen East school district in Lafayette, Ohio, since 1998 and previously served as principal at Lima Perry from 1987-1998.
A 1969 graduate of Doylestown Chippewa High School in Ohio, Richards graduated from Bluffton College in 1973 and earned his master’s degree from the University of Dayton in 1975. Once an English teacher, he was also the head football coach and athletic director at Bluffton High School from 1982-87.
Richards believes he is a good fit for a few basic reasons.
“I’ve been around athletics my whole life, and it’s a passion of mine,” he said. “The other part is my association with the OHSAA and the northwest district board, and also my connection with the officials.
“I’ve been in the role of an athletic director and a principal and a superintendent. My awareness of the trials and tribulations of those positions will allow me to help continue to move the league forward and establish the relationships that I will have to have with those people.”