Passing of Richie Szaro, Class of 1967
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Posted by: Michael Graziano
We regret to inform you of the recent passing of Richie Szaro, Class of 1967, in his native Poland. A funeral service is scheduled for this Thursday in Warsaw and a memorial service is being planned for this summer in the U.S. The following comes from the Polish American Football League where Richie was very active in Poland:
We are deeply saddened by news that Ryszard Szaro, the first Pole in the NFL, has passed away at the age of 67 in Warsaw. Ryszard entered the NFL via draft in 1975. During his five seasons in the NFL he was the kicker for the New Orleans Saints and the New York Jets. Prior to his NFL career, Ryszard played for the Harvard Crimson and was the only Polish student-athlete to-date to graduate from this prestigious college. Since the very beginning of organized football in Poland (PLFA), Ryszard has been active in promoting and developing this sport in Poland. He was always eager to share his valuable football knowledge with Polish players. We will always remember his smile, optimism and sense of humor.
Ryszard was the first ambassador of American football in Poland. His exceptional career – both in football and in academia – proves that one can achieve even the boldest of dreams. When reminiscing his college and NFL career, Ryszard always pointed out what an exceptional adventure he was fortunate to experience in his life. At the end of March, I spoke with him about Babatunde Aiyegbusi signing a contract with the Minnesota Vikings. He was not the least bit surprised that an NFL team became interested in Babs. Several weeks prior, in an interview with Piotr Bera for the 2015 edition of the annual PLFA Fan Magazine, the first Pole in the National Football League stated: ‘We need to believe in our abilities, because Poles know how to play football. If we start believing, finding a successor to Sebastian Janikowski in the NFL will only be a question of time.’ Ryszard ran the first leg of the Polish football relay race. He was also witness to the baton being passed on to the first player trained entirely on Polish soil. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Ryszard’s loved ones on behalf of the American football community in Poland - said Jędrzej Stęszewski, PLFA Commissioner.