Rico Tyler was a bruisingfullback from Pittsburgh from 1987-1990, who gained nearly 1,000 yards for the Mountaineers in his career and was a member of the 1988 unbeaten team.
This year, Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers are faced with finding replacements for Geno Smith, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, J.D. Woods, Jeff Braun, Joe Madsen and more on offense. In 1990, Nehlen and the Mountaineers returned only TWO starters on offense from the previous season. A huge void in leadership on offense came about when Major Harris departed in 1989.
Who stepped in to fill the void? War-hardened veteran fullback Rico Tyler.
Tyler told the Pittsburgh Press in April of 1990 that he led "by example or just saying a few words to keep the young guys going. We older guys basically know what our responsibilities are. I just want to be a positive role model and do what I have to do to make this team better."
He was voted as a team captain along with Dale Wolfley, Jim Gray and Sam Wilson.
"He has a big of a personality of anyone I've ever coached," Don Nehlen said of Tyler. "Fullback isn't usually a leadership position, but Rico really tried to keep the team going.
The superb leadership qualities Tyler demonstrated no doubt helped in his professional career off the football field.
So, where is he now? Since 2008, Tyler has been theAssociate Vice-President For Diversity, Empowerment and Inclusion at Depaul University in Chicago, Il. In his position, he isinvolved inthe incorporation of practices, policies and procedures through their unit diversity plan that are informed by the institutional values and mission of equity and inclusion at Depaul.
He still returns to Morgantown on occasion, and has played in the Old-Timers contest game preceding the Blue/Gold Game preceding Spring Practices.