|Hometown:||Orange County, CA|
Richard M. Russey '87
Hometown: Orange County, CA
Sport: Water Polo
Year Inducted: 2000
Rich Russey was a star for the Bears during the mid 1980s, as Brown experienced its greatest years in the history of its water polo. His talents made him one of the rare individuals who could create offense at any time, regardless of the situation. He possessed exceptional speed, which, along with his powerful shot, made him a natural goal scorer. His great vision and passing touch created a true playmaker that improved everyone around him.
During his four-year career on College Hill, Russey started every game as the Bears compiled a combined record of 109-31-1, including an incredible 29-1 against Ivy-League opponents. Russey, one of only four Brown players ever to be a captain for two seasons, led the way as the squad captured four straight Ivy League and New England titles. The Bears won three Eastern Championships and were runners-up the fourth year, and qualified for the NCAA Championship four times, finishing sixth three times and seventh once.
Russey’s freshman year saw the rookie shine all over the pool. As the team finished the season 28-5 and placed sixth in the NCAA Championships, Rich was beginning to put his mark on the team that is still remembered today. He finished the season scoring 44 goals, which was third-highest for the Bears, and he led the team with 62 steals, proving he was much more than an offensive threat. The team captured the Eastern Championships with a 12-8 victory over Slippery Rock, and went on to the NCAA’s. There, Brown defeated Loyola 13-11 but fell short of a title by dropping two games to USC. Russey was selected First Team All-East as a freshman, an honor he would get used to in his Brown career.
As a sophomore, it was more of the same for Russey. He improved on his already impressive numbers, finishing the season with 55 goals and 70 steals. His goal total was second for the Bears and once again he led the team in steals. Brown continued to thrive with Russey leading the way. A 15-12 victory over Navy gave the Bears a second straight Eastern title, and they again beat Loyola in the NCAA Tournament. However, it was the Trojans of USC and UCLA who would crush Brown’s title hopes, as the season ended with a 32-7-1 record and a sixth place finish at the NCAA’s. Again, Rich was a First Team All-East selection, and was selected as team captain for the upcoming season.
That season say the Bears continue their dominance in the East. They finished the year at 25-10, and again captured the Ivy League, New England, and Eastern Championships. Russey’s goal total continued to grow, as he finished with 64 goals, second on the team, and he led Brown in steals for the third consecutive year, finishing with 67. A 22.2 trashing of Harvard captured the New England Championships, while Bucknell fell victim to the Bears 11-7 in the Eastern Championship final. For the third straight year, a in over Loyola and two losses to California-based schools gave the Bears a sixth place finish at the NCAA Tournament. Russey was again awarded First Team All-East honors, and he finally got the national recognition he deserved, as he was named a U.S. Water Polo All-American.
As captain for the second straight season, Russey ended his career in style. He finished with 59 goals and an impressive 80 steals. He was second on the team in goals and led the squad in steals for the fourth time. The team finished at 24-9, winning the Ivy and New England titles but falling short to Navy at the Eastern’s. They finished seventh at the NCAA’s after ending their season with a 19-13 win over Air Force. Rich earned his fourth straight All-East selection, and was named a U.S. Water Polo All-American for the second consecutive year. In addition, he was the winner of the Marjorie B. Smith Trophy as the team MVP and was an NCAA All-American Honorable Mention.
When Rich Russey graduated from Brown in 1987 with a degree in OBM and Business Economics, he left as the all-time leader in steals with 279, a position he still holds. He also ranks fifth on the all-time scoring list with 222 goals. Also an All-Ivy and All-ECAC swimmer at Brown, Rich has continued his water polo career since graduating. He has led the New York Athletic Club to five Indoor National Championships, has been an Olympic Festival team member seven times, and is currently a member of the U.S. Water Polo Board of Governors.
Originally a native of Orange County, California, Rich is currently living in New York City and running the publishing division of Fortune Magazine.