Looking Back: Rick Fisher


From an article written in September, 2001...

In Ohio most little boys have a football to play with before they finish teething. And in small towns accross the Buckeye State life revolves around the rhythms of the game: spring practice, summer camp, Fridays and Saturdays in the fall with fans in the stands cheering on their heroes. This is life in Ohio and it's where Rick Fisher grew up.

By some measures, Fisher was Murray State's first star running back. He was the first Racer to gain 1,000 yards in a season. He was the Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year in an era when the OVC was just a notch below the big-time. And, he went on to play professionally.

But, long before he ran around defenders at Cutchin Field he was a little boy in Ohio, playing football, "playing the game."

"I'm from Shelby, Ohio which is about 70 miles North of Columbus," Fisher said. "And where I grew up football was really a big, big, thing. The Shelby Blues was one of the first pro football teams ever. We had guys that would talk about playing against Jim Thorpe. The Harbaughs are from that area. Jim Harbaugh plays for the (Detroit) Lions and Jack coaches at Western. The Gottfrieds, Mike Gottfried (former head coach at MSU and Pittsburgh) and, the Fontes' are from Shelby. We've had a lot of these people who have gone on and done real well in football, playing and coaching in college and the pros. So it's a big-time atmosphere."

From the beginning Fisher enjoyed success on the gridiron. His class never lost a game. They were 8-0 as 8th graders, 9-0 as freshmen, and 10-0 as sophomores. But, that just set the stage for what was to come.

Once he began to play at the varsity level Fisher quickly attracted the notice of sportswriters and college coaches. An All-State and All-American selection as a senior, Fischer was recruited by several major colleges who wanted him to play wide receiver. But, he wanted to be a running back. That, and future MSU head coach Mike Gottfried are the reasons why he wound up at Murray State.

"I came here because of Mike Gottfried," Fisher noted. "He was an assistant at Murray State at that time. I was getting recruited by a lot of the big schools, but at that time the freshmen couldn't play on the varsity level, except in the OVC. I could play right away here and I was really impressed with Murray. I was recruited by a lot of the big schools.  I visited Ohio State, I visited Purdue, I visited Akron, I visited Dayton. There were a lot of schools I went to visit, but I really liked Murray State. They needed a running tailback, which I wanted to be. A lot of other people were recruiting me as a receiver and but I wanted to come down here and be a running back."