What do Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Win Ben Stein’s Money, and Jeopardy! have in common? Rich Reddick has appeared on–and won–every one of them.
Despite his game show prowess, he says that he is not a “trivia guy.” Reddick, who grew up in the UK while his family was stationed there, attributes his knowledge in part to watching educational programs on the BBC. Another source of his skills—his participation in academic decathlon during high school in Austin.
“I had the same motivation to be on these shows as most folks do,” says Reddick. “I would play along with Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! at home and would think, ‘Man, I could do that!’ Of course, it’s a little more challenging with the cameras and lights in your face.”
The first time he was on a game show he was a sophomore at UT and represented the university during college week on Wheel of Fortune in 1993. His original goal of winning $2,000 to buy a new car was far exceeded when he solved the final Author, Title category puzzle by answering “The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.” He won $34,225.
“The experience of walking into Arrowwood Acura to pick out a car and then telling the salesperson that I would pay cash for it was pretty rad,” says Reddick. “As a young black male in college, I was broke and in debt during most of college and had imagined that they would not treat me seriously when I looked at cars, but they treated me well and I bought the car!”
After winning, he also was invited back to Johnston High School by his 11th grade English teacher Pat ten Broeke to talk to students about the importance of American literature.
“She was one of my favorite teachers, and I met my wife in her class, so of course I was happy to do it,” says Reddick.
Over the next ten years, Reddick won each of the television games shows he participated in, as well as several internet game shows. In fact, he hasn’t lost one yet.
Richard Reddick is the inaugural associate dean for equity, community engagement, and outreach for the College of Education and is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy.