Richard A. Strakowski
Sport(s): Cross Country (Men's), Track & Field (Men's)
When Dick Strakowski came to DePauw in 1956, freshmen were ineligible for varsity competition. Nevertheless, he ran in three freshman cross country meets and lowered the existing varsity course record by 55 seconds. In the all-conference freshman track meet he won both the mile and two mile races, setting records in both. He became the lead distance runner and MVP on both the cross country and track teams. Strakowski earned all-conference honors all three years in cross country, finishing first his junior and senior years. He also placed in the top ten of the Big State cross country meet and in the top three of the Little State meet. His senior year, running ill in the NCAA meet, he missed all-America status by one place. He also was all-conference in track, winning the two-mile race. DePauw won the ICC championship three years in a row, retiring the traveling trophy. Strakowski finished his cross country career owning the course records of each school in the conference. In addition, while carrying a full academic load, he worked nearly 40 hours per week for the athletic department, delivering for the Double Decker, at the Union Building dining room and bowling alley, for the Admission office and doing odd jobs around Greencastle. With no outside support, he graduated with a degree in physical education. He earned a master’s degree in elementary education and administration, teaching fifth grade for 12 years and then serving as elementary school principal for 24 years with WaNee Community Schools in Nappanee, IN. He was named Outstanding Educator by the school district, and served as secretary and chair of the Northern Indiana Principals’ Association. He is active in community recreation and is a church leader. He married the former Marilyn Houseman ’60, and they have three sons and six grandchildren.