UMSL volleyball standout Charlotte Richards named 2023 GLVC Richard F. Scharf Paragon Award recipient

by | May 22, 2023

Richards is only the second UMSL athlete – and first female – to receive the award.
Graphic commemorating Charlotte Richards as the 2023 GLVC Scharf Paragon Award recipient

UMSL volleyball standout Charlotte Richards was named a recipient of the 2023 GLVC Richard F. Scharf Paragon Award. She is the second UMSL student-athlete – and first female – to receive the GLVC’s highest honor, joining former baseball player Logan Hughes, who won it in 2004. (Graphic courtesy of UMSL Athletics)

Charlotte Richards was already the most decorated volleyball player and among the most decorated student-athletes in University of Missouri–St. Louis history.

She was a three-time Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year, two-time first-team All-American and two-time Academic All-American during her five seasons with the Tritons and capped her career by leading UMSL to the national semifinals last December.

But Richards received one more honor on Friday when the GLVC named her the female recipient of its 2023 Richard F. Scharf Paragon Award. The conference’s highest honor – named for the former GLVC commissioner – is bestowed annually to one male and one female student-athlete who display academic excellence, athletic ability and achievement, character and leadership.

Richards will be formally recognized Tuesday at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car GLVC Awards Reception in St. Charles, Missouri. She is only the second UMSL athlete – and first female – to receive the award, joining former baseball player Logan Hughes, who won it in 2004.

“All the recognition and the awards I have received throughout my time at UMSL are a reflection of the love and passion I have for the game of volleyball,” Richards said. “I am proud to represent UMSL, and I could not have done this without the ongoing help from my teammates and Coach Ryan Young. I am incredibly grateful for the unconditional love and support I have received from the UMSL community over these last five years.”

Richards shined as an outside hitter throughout her career, rewriting the record books with 1,931 career kills, including a single-season-high 569 in the 2021 season when she led all of NCAA Division II. She also ranks fifth in career aces with 133 and helped UMSL to a combined record of 109-39, including 60-20 in conference play, during her five seasons. The Tritons twice finished as runners-up in the GLVC Championship – in 2019 and 2021 – and made the NCAA Tournament three times, including last fall’s run to the national semifinals in Seattle.

Richards also made the most of her time in the classroom, earning a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management with a 3.97 GPA and a master’s degree in supply chain analytics with a 4.0 GPA. She was a first-time Academic All-GLVC selection, a two-time GLVC Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award recipient and was named a second-team Academic All-American in 2021 and a first-team selection in 2022.

Richards, who grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, spurned scholarship offers to play Division I softball because her true passion was on the court, and she followed her older sister Madsy to UMSL. The results from that decision have exceeded all her expectations.

“Looking back to my freshman year at UMSL, I would have never imagined I would be where I am today,” said Richards, who surprised even herself with how quickly she made an impact on the court and also discovered her academic interest. “Pieces of my life started to come together. After taking some gen ed classes at UMSL, an interest began to spark in business. I decided to join the Supply Chain and Transportation Club and from there, I was able to find my love for supply chain management and data analytics. I never thought I would be graduating from UMSL at 23 years old with a master’s degree.”

That’s what happened last December.

But Richards, who has had internships at Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids and with Boeing in Everett, Washington, has put her supply chain career on hold for now to pursue professional volleyball. She spent her first season for OK Galeb Liko Soho Group in Bar, Montenegro, and is back home in Cedar Rapids for the summer as she waits to learn where her next professional contract will be.

Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik