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Mr. Willis attended Stratford Senior High School in Houston, TX from 1982 to 1986 and was a four sport "Letterman." He was the starting Quarterback of the football team at Stratford, a Texas High School powerhouse that has won numerous State Championships and produced many NCAA and professional athletes. 

From 1984-1986, under the expert instruction and guidance of his mentor and beloved coach David Flora, Mr. Willis, Coach Flora and many others helped pioneer Stratford's new offensive scheme from a traditionally wish-bone style (run dominated) offense into a more complex West Coast style (passing) offense, with great success. This new offensive attack continued for many years and produced a number of offensive talents including Mr. Willis, David Klingler, Andrew Luck and more.

At the end of his High School athletic career Mr. Willis was recruited and offered scholarships to play Football for a number of smaller Colleges, but none were a perfect fit. So, the day after he graduated from Stratford, he took the small amount of savings he had, flew to El Paso, TX, enrolled in summer school and "walked onto" the Football team at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).


Once there, he immediately began summer workouts, found a job and began classes in hopes of earning a full athletic scholarship (and a Degree) as soon as possible. He earned a full scholarship by the end of his first "two-a-days" and before the first pre-season game.


As a true Freshman, Mr. Willis was the back-up to the graduating Senior starting Quarterback and was poised to be the team's future Quarterback until injuries and other setbacks slowed his progression. 

At UTEP, Mr. Willis was coached by, and played for, some of the NFL's top coaches working today. Dirk Koetter (OC Atlanta Falcons, HC Tampa Bay Bucs and more) was Mr. Willis' Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach, Marty Mornhinweg (OC Baltimore Ravens) was his Assistant QB Coach, Andy Reid (HC Kansas City Chiefs, HC Philadelphia Eagles) was the team's Offensive Line Coach and Dave Taub (KC Chiefs) was the team's strength and conditioning coach. After two years at UTEP, and as it became clear that his extraordinarily talented coaching staff might be looking to make a change for themselves, Mr. Wills pursued a transfer to another school. The Ivy League was always a dream of his and that dream became a reality in 1988 when he chose to attend Brown University and play Quarterback for the team.

Academically at UTEP, Mr. Willis always maintained a heavy work load of classes both during the year as well as during the summers, so after two years (at the time when transferring schools) Mr. Willis had already earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.

However, by transferring from UTEP to Brown University, Mr. Willis was forced to give up a great deal of his academic credits, his full athletic scholarship and a year of playing eligibility. Although there are no scholarships awarded to student-athletes in the Ivy League, Mr. Willis was awarded partial financial aid, so that he may attend Brown. However, it was not nearly enough to cover the costs of attending a University such as Brown, so Mr. Willis performed a number of different jobs throughout the year and took out student loans in order to put himself through school.

Once at Brown, Mr. Willis proudly attended classes, worked and played Football for three seasons with his teammates (including Bill O’Brien – HC Houston Texans/OC Crimson Tide/OC New England Patriots). While at Brown Mr. Willis and his teammates (again) ushered in a new era of offensive/passing excellence that Brown enjoyed for many years after. He broke several of the existing Brown and Ivy League passing records prior to a career ending ankle injury at Princeton in his final season of eligibility. 

He was awarded the Kilgore McFarland Award for his contributions on the football field. (See AWARDS section for more)

Mr. Willis graduated from Brown University in 1991 with a BA in Economics and a minor in Classics. 

Richard remains an avid runner, proud Niner and Cityzen.

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