Born Richard James Watters or Ricky "Running" Watters, a nickname given to him by ESPN's Chris Berman, because of his unique high-stepping running style, was born April 7, 1969 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Football became a passion at an early age. Ricky starred on the Pee Wee, Pony, and Midget (Varsity)levels for the Harrisburg Packers and O.L.B.S (Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament) the catholic grade school he attended from first to eighth grade. He went on to show coaches and scouts that he was a special talent at Bishop McDevitt High School, where he became the number one recruit in the country. Sought after by every major college program in the NCAA, he decided to sign with the University of Notre Dame where he became an all American wide receiver and running back and became a starter on the 1988 National Championship team. After a solid four year campaign at the college level, Ricky went on to have a Hall of Fame caliber career. Playing eleven years in the NFL, four with the San Francisco 49ers, three with the Philadelphia Eagles, and four with the Seattle Seahawks, Ricky was honored as a 3 time All-Pro Running Back and participated in 5 Pro Bowls. He also holds the record for scoring 5 touchdowns in a playoff game (against Lawrence Taylor and the New York Giants Defense) and his 3 TD performance in Super Bowl XXIX vs. the San Diego Chargers. Ricky is the only running back ever to run for 1,000 yards for three different teams. And he trails only the late great Walter Payton for consecutive starts by a running back. A true champion, Ricky is on a very short list of players to win championships on the grade school, high school, college, and pro levels.
After his stellar playing career, Ricky lived in San Francisco and Los Angeles prior to settling in Orlando, Florida, where he was recently inducted into to the Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame, along with Glenn "Doc" Rivers the current coach of the Boston Celtics and former coach of the Orlando Magic. Ricky was given this honor for both his philanthropic work with the youth of Central Florida and his athletic excellence. The communities of Central Florida have benefitted from his giving back through mentoring, motivational speaking and fundraising to youth in the juvenile justice and dependency system, Boys & Girls Club, foster system, and public school system and many sports programs. Ricky’s passion is to help bring awareness to the many children and teens in foster care and in single parent homes who need mentoring and guidance and a positive role model in their lives. He and his wife, Catherina, spend countless hours mentoring at risk youth teaching them valuable life skills that will aid them in their adult life. Ricky also supports local sports organizations and youth charities and provides scholarships to his own football programs to make them affordable to all who wish to attend. His team of qualified coaches including teammates from his years at Notre Dame and the NFL make the Ricky Watters Pro Football Experience an event the kids will always remember.
Ricky met his wife Catherina while playing with the San Francisco Forty-Niners. She attended Santa Clara University for her undergraduate degree and went on to obtain her JD from New York Law School. They are proud parents of two boys, Ricky Jr. and Shane Watters. Ricky shares his love of music, poetry and sports with his children and encourages them to pursue their passions. Ricky Jr. is a developing pianist, vocalist and actor pursuing an entertainment career.
Ricky’s wife Catherina manages her own law firm Chang Watters Group, P.A. where Ricky serves as Director of Public Relations. The firm handles civil law matters including sports and entertainment law. The firm has been successful in assisting many retired NFL players with their disability claims and educating players on their retirement benefits and post-retirement resources. Their combined roles as an NFL player, NFL wife, father, mother, and attorney have provided the insight necessary to help players and their spouses make the right decisions for their families and handle the pressures of an NFL career and life after the NFL.