By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A former University of Wyoming football player and his wife have given a generous donation to support planned renovations for the university’s War Memorial Stadium.
Cody Ritchie and his wife Patsy donated $1 million to support west-side upgrades to the stadium, according to university officials. This is the first major gift to support these renovations.
“Although my time on the football team was brief, I have been a Wyoming Cowboy fan since we moved to Wyoming in 1976,” Ritchie said.
The improvement project is still being finalized but will include improvements and upgrades to the restrooms, concessions, seating, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and the press area. The project will be supported by private gifts and funding from the Wyoming State Legislature.
“Cody and Patsy are so passionate about this university and so committed to the overall mission of UW athletics,” Tom Burman, UW athletics director, said. “Cody talks frequently about the importance of the Cowboys as a means to keep engaged when you are forced to start your career outside of Wyoming. Tracking the Cowboys from long distance keeps you engaged with your college and brings you back to campus.”
Ritchie was born in Canada, and his family moved to Wyoming when he was 11. He attended junior high in Cody and graduated from Natrona County High School in Casper.
After high school, he attended UW, walking on to the football team and later playing rugby.
In 1987, Ritchie earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UW and went on to earn a master’s in exercise sport science and athletic administration from the University of Arizona in 1991, where he was an intern for the Wildcat Club.
“From the time I was 12 years old, I wanted to attend UW, where my older brother Linden also graduated,” Ritchie said. “My time at UW and our family’s years in Wyoming helped forge lifelong friendships that mean the world to me.”
Ritchie is now the founder, CEO and managing partner of Crest Insurance Group, a full-service insurance brokerage licensed in all 50 states. Crest Insurance Group employs more than 250 people in Arizona, California and Colorado.
The company specializes in commercial property, casualty and workers’ compensation insurance, bonds, employee benefits, personal auto insurance, umbrella and homeowners’ insurance, and individual life and health insurance.
The Ritchies are Wyoming athletics fans and avid supporters of the university, and this is the latest in a long line of gifts from the couple. They have also given in support of the College of Business, the Cowboy Joe Club, the Wyoming rugby team, War Memorial Stadium enhancements and athletics facilities projects.
“Living in Wyoming and graduating from UW have provided me with an immense sort of pride,” Ritchie said. “Being able to donate back to Wyoming athletics is an honor and a privilege. In doing so, it’s not just about bricks and mortar. It’s about reinvesting in people. The ‘giving-a-hand-up’ philosophy will help future generations of Cowboys and Cowgirls have a positive impact in our society. I ride for the brand.”
The Ritchies live in Tucson, Arizona.