On January 26, 2013 the Belmont Abbey Crusaders will take time to remember a former player that made his greatest contribution in one of the darkest days of our nation’s history. That day will be devoted to the memory of Jimmy Riches, a sharpshooter from New York, who returned home to follow in the footsteps of his father, a retired FDNY deputy chief. Jimmy served the FDNY proudly, so it was no surprise that on the day his hometown needed him most, Jimmy was there to answer the call.
Jimmy Riches, like every American citizen, could have never imagined the unspeakable horror he was running headlong toward that day. He was involved in the rescue effort of the north tower. That is where Jimmy endured the furor of hatred, and ultimately, lost his life. His body was recovered by his dad and brothers in March of 2002. Jimmy’s recovery brought about a sense of relief, as many victims are still unaccounted for. The cemetery serves as a permanent memorial for Jimmy.
But for one day, The Wheeler Center, and Belmont Abbey College, will become a place of memorial for Jimmy Riches.
The day will begin at noon, as the FDNY will be represented, competing against a team of firefighters representing the Charlotte Metro Area, and select Abbey basketball alumni. The game will be free to the public, and will give everyone an opportunity to share in one of Jimmy’s passions, on the court he once played.
That night, the Belmont Abbey Crusaders will take on the Lees-McRae Bobcats in Conference Carolinas action. The doubleheader begins with the women at 5:30pm, while the men are the nightcap, slated for 7:30pm. The tickets that night feature a representation of a #20 Crusaders jersey, which was Jimmy’s college number. Those looking forward to attending the event are encouraged to order their tickets in advance, as the Wheeler Center’s capacity is set at 1,284. The number for purchasing tickets is 704-461-6809.
The highlight of the event will take place in between the two contests, as Athletics Director and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Stephen Miss will present the #20 jersey to the Riches’ family, where it will then rest proudly in a place of honor at the Wheeler Center. Riches’ presence is already in place, as a tribute is affixed along the northern interior wall of the Arena. The tribute coincides with his inclusion among the Crusaders elite long distance shooters. Riches was an inaugural member of the Belmont Abbey Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.
For more information on the Riches Memorial Game, or other facets of the weekend’s events, call Brian Rushing at 704.461.6235 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.