Year Inducted: 2017
Nominated By: Tony Geonetta
Sports Competed In: Football, Track
Athlete, Coach or Contributor: Athlete, Coach
After attending Central High School for two years (1961-62), Richard moved to newly-opened South High School and immediately helped the Colts become one of the top prep sports programs in Colorado. During his senior year, he was the school's Class President.
He was an all-state football player and state qualifier in track and field. He was also the school's first class president. While a senior at South, Richard caught the eye of Bob Devaney, then the coach at the University of Wyoming and later a major college and NFL head coach. Kay Dalton, former offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos, recalls traveling with Devaney to the all-state games in Pueblo to recruit the Busia brothers. Dalton said Devaney referred to the Busias as centerpieces of his recruiting efforts for the then powerful Cowboys.
Richard and his brother enrolled on the Laramie campus, but Robert soon opted to return to Pueblo where he became one of the best two-sport athletes ever at then Southern Colorado State College. Richard became a two-way star for the Cowboys, playing against NFL legends like Gayle Sayers.
Upon graduation and armed with a teaching degree, Richard eventually became a coaching legend in Torrance, CA. He coached for 35 years as both a head football coach and an assistant with the track program. Busia had a number of his players go on to play in major college and professional teams.
Beyond all the sports honors that Richard Busia received, he is more important as a classic example of the kind of student athlete Pueblo produced in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Born in the shadow of the CF&I Steel mill's smokestacks of Slavic-American parents, Richard was one of the main reasons why coaches and players from Denver and parts north feared and respected Pueblo's prep sports programs.
Rich lived in Pueblo for 22 years before moving to Torrance, CA., with his wife Lynn.