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Kulka To Coordinate Football Academic Support Program; Richardson Joins Academic Support Staff

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa., July 16, 2003 - Todd Kulka and Wally Richardson have been appointed to coordinate Penn State's Football Academic Support services.

Entering his fourth year on the staff of the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes (MASCSA), Kulka will serve as Coordinator of Football Academic Support Services. A former linebacker for the Nittany Lions, he replaces the recently retired Don Ferrell in providing leadership in this critical and highly successful support area of the football program.

Richardson is joining the MASCSA staff as an academic counselor. The former Penn State standout quarterback will work with Kulka and the squad members in all facets of the academic support program.

Among Kulka and Richardson's responsibilities are: working with the underclassmen in assisting their transition from high school, assisting all squad members in selecting and finishing their degree programs and with their transition into their career path. They also will coordinate the structured study program, provide counseling and advising, track and monitor grades and eligibility and assist with on-campus recruiting.

A State College Area High School graduate, Kulka is in his seventh year as a member of the academic support staff. Upon his graduation from the University in 1995, he served three years as a graduate assistant and received his master's degree in Education from Penn State in 2000. He moved into a full-time position as an academic counselor the same year. Kulka is entering his 12th year with the Penn State football program as a player and member of the academic support team.

Wally Richardson
Richardson led Penn State to a 20-5 record as the starting quarterback during the 1995 and '96 seasons. He continues to hold several school records, including pass completions in a game (33 vs. Wisconsin, 1995) and season (193, 1995) and pass attempts in a season (335, 1995). His 378 career completions are second-highest in Penn State history.

From Sumter, S.C., Richardson earned his degree in Administration of Justice in 1996. He is on schedule to earn a master's degree in Higher Education from Penn State in December. During his undergraduate career, he earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was selected Academic All-Big Ten three times.

Richardson played two seasons with the National Football League's Baltimore Ravens. During the 2001 season, he was the starting quarterback for New York/New Jersey Hitmen in the XFL. He began work on his master's degree at Penn State during the 2001 fall semester.

The Penn State football program has achieved high marks for its academic performance in tandem with the on-field success of Joe Paterno's team. Penn State has consistently been ranked among the football programs with the nation's best graduation rates.

Among the Nittany Lion football program's most recent academic accomplishments:

?? Penn State football players enrolling in 1995-96 earned an 88 percent graduation rate, according to the 2002 NCAA Division I Graduation Rates Report. The Nittany Lions' 88 percent rate was the highest among all teams that played in bowl games or were ranked in the final 2002 polls. The superlative figure was tied for third-highest among all Division I-A programs and was substantially higher than the 52 percent national average.

?? For African-American football players entering school in 1995-96, the Nittany Lions' graduation figure of 82 percent nearly doubled the 42 percent national figure, according to the 2002 NCAA report.

?? During its 10 seasons of competition in the Big Ten Conference, Penn State has had 124 Academic All-Big Ten football honorees, tops among all Conference institutions.

?? In 14 of the 17 years it has been eligible, Penn State has received honorable mention recognition by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) for earning a football graduation rate of 70 percent or better.

?? Thirty-two Nittany Lions earned a 3.0 grade point average of higher during the 2003 spring semester.




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