It's been close to four decades since Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera departed from the University of California. Yet, on Thursday, Rivera and his wife, Stephanie, decided to give back to the school in a gracious way.
On Thursday, Cal announced that the Rivera's donated $500K to the school's softball field renovation project. As a thank you for the gift, Cal plans to rename the renovated facility the "Rivera Family Cal Softball Field."
During his typical Thursday media session, Rivera was asked why he wanted to donate and give back to his alma mater, specifically the school's softball program.
"One thing that Steph and I believe in is gender equity," Rivera said. "If you look at things not just at Cal, but around the nation, there is a little disparity in what each group has. We just felt that to try and help out and what we could do with the money so it would go a long way, we decided to help the women's program and work with the women's softball program at Cal."
The head coach made it a point to stress the importance of gender equity, not just in sports but in life in general.
"We did it because we do truly believe that gender equity is important," Rivera said. "We want to create the same opportunities for women going forward because one thing we've learned is that women who do participate in NCAA sports are successful in life. So, we just wanted to create a positive environment."
Rivera's support for gender equity is seen within his own coaching staff. When Rivera was the Panthers' boss in 2018, he hired Jennifer King as a coaching intern. King worked with the wide receivers in Carolina in 2018, then returned to Rivera's staff one year later to work with the running backs.
When Rivera took the head coaching job in Washington earlier this year, he hired King as a full-year coaching intern. King became the first Black woman in history to have a full-time coaching job and the fourth woman overall to hold a full-time coaching title.
“Jennifer is a bright young coach and will be a great addition to our staff," Rivera said in February. "Her familiarity with my expectations as a coach and my firsthand knowledge of her work ethic and preparation were big factors in bringing her to [Washington]."
Rivera is passionate about gender equality, and his latest donation proves just that. A generous gift from the Rivera family for a great cause. Well done, coach.