Richard H. Wheeler '77
Richard H. Wheeler '77
Title: Class of 2004
Organization: Men's Basketball

This North Brookfield native almost got away. But after a year at Colby College, he decided to come home. And no one was more pleased than Ken Kaufman, WPI's head coach, who was looking for some added scoring punch for a very young team. Rick Wheeler was just what the doctor ordered.

The 6-foot guard could score points in bunches. Fans remember well the 31 points he scored in just half a game with Wesleyan-a record that still stands. And how about the night in February 1977 when he tallied 39 points against Tufts-a record that would hold for 18 years (it's still second best in WPI history). At the time of his graduation, Rick's 1,318 career points and his 21.6 points-per-game average were WPI records. The latter mark ranks second in WPI annals.

But statistics prove he was much more than a point machine. He could score in every way imaginable. There was his patented long-range jumper-one can only guess how many more points he'd have averaged had the 3-point shot been in effect then. He could also drive to the hoop for short bankers and, better yet, for one-of-a-kind spin-dribble layups.

Rick's ppg average of 25.2 in his senior year, still the record, was one of the top scoring averages in the nation. He also averaged 4.6 assists, while shooting just under 47 percent. He led WPI in scoring in 19 of the 21 games he played that year.

As a junior, he averaged 22.7 points per game, averaging 4.3 assists. As captain in 1976-77, he was named an All-ECAC performer.

As a junior, he averaged 22.7 points per game, averaging 4.3 assists. As captain in 1976-77, he was named an All-ECAC performer.

Since 1982, Rick has had a successful career at American Optical in Southbridge, Mass. He and his wife, Linda, still live in North Brookfield.

For his truly outstanding career, it is with great distinction that Richard H. Wheeler is inducted into the WPI Athletic Hall of Fame.