Richard Knar touched many lives throughout his life.
Today, a large number of those people he’s worked with will pay the Stanley-Boyd alum back at UW-Fond du Lac, marking his career as a math professor and the school’s basketball coach.
The school is naming its basketball court for Knar and also organized a golf outing in his honor to help fund its scholarship programs.
“Last year, we celebrated the campus’ 40th anniversary, and as a part of that event, people could share their memories of the campus. What happened was it turned into discussions about athletics and coach Knar,” said UW-Fond du Lac Foundation Executive Director Christa Williams.
“I said, ‘I think we really need to do something for somebody that means so much to many people.’”
The golf outing was Friday at Whispering Springs golf course in Fond du Lac. The court dedication is today with members of the Knar family, former players and students on hand.
“Coach Knar really impacted my life,” wrote one of those students, Scott Wittchow, in an e-mail. “It was a call from coach Knar inviting me to campus that initiated my attending UW-Fond du Lac for two years, playing basketball, and opening my eyes to a whole world of opportunities.”
Wittchow’s story is one of many that Williams has learned in her time in organizing the event after the school’s anniversary.
“As I’ve gone through this, former students will tell me how Knar helped them to go to school. They weren’t planning about going to school or were going to other ones,” she said. “He knew them from this community, for one reason or another, and said, ‘You need ... to get an education.’
“He would take them to the student services office and made sure they got signed up for school.”
It’s Knar’s passion to see young adults continue education that the foundation began the inaugural golf outing, dubbed the Knar Open.
“We want to continue to give scholarships, and we’re building this fund,” Williams said. “We offer scholarships and that allows students to do other things that we can’t do with a state budget.”
Today, though, as the court gets its new name, he will be surrounded by players from the 1968 team.
“The floor will be covered, and ... 10 members from that first team are going to be here to do that unveiling,” Williams said. “Every time we talk about that piece, (Knar) gets very teary eyed.”
And through the process, Williams said she’s felt like she’s become a part of the Knar family that includes former players, students and community members.
“It’s been my privilege to work on this. I know I’m not the only person invited into their family,” she said.