Thursday, October 21, 2021

Former Maryland and Redskins running back Rudy Riska dies at 85

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Former Maryland running back and Heisman Trophy winner Rudy Riska died Sunday of pneumonia complications. He was 85.

Riska was born on Nov. 28, 1930, in Arlington, Va., to Rudy and Clara Riska. His father was an active member of the Knights of Columbus. The family moved to Lorton, Va., when Rudy was 7, and Rudy attended high school at Fort Washington High School.

Riska served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1955. After his time in the service, he was a salesmen at Weil-Carron until he married his wife, Stella Morabito, in 1958.

In 1960, the Redskins drafted Rudy Riska in the first round, and he played five seasons for the team before embarking on a career in broadcasting. He was a broadcaster for Maryland and Virginia during the 1970s and 1980s.

He later became a program director for regional sports cable television in Virginia and Maryland.

A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Riska became a steady presence in a college football scene loaded with celebrities. He called nearly all the games for Maryland games in the 1950s and 1960s. He retired in 1989, but would broadcast games for Old Dominion (which eventually merged with the University of Virginia) in the early 2000s.

In 2009, Riska was the winner of the Danny Vang Award, which is given each year to an individual who has had an illustrious football career and one-time role in sports broadcasting.

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