On Saturday, August 27, the SAISD honored Dr. Ricardo Romo and five others by inducting them into the SAISD Athletic Hall of Fame. Romo is a 1962 graduate of Fox Tech High School and attended UT Austin on a track scholarship.
Ricardo Romo is the first Texan to run a sub-four-minute mile. His mile time, 3:58.8, set during his senior year at UT Austin [1966], stood as a University of Texas Austin track record for 40 years. Romo was a freshman and varsity letterman in track and cross-country at UT Austin where he set Southwest Conference records in the mile and three-mile run. He earned All-American honors in 1966 and won a
medal as a member of the U.S. Track and Field Team [Commonwealth Games, 1966].
Romo’s track career began in his
sophomore year at San Antonio Technical and Vocational High Schoo [later changed to Fox Tech in his senior year]. As a tenth
grader, he won city and state regional meets and finished fifth in the state meet.
At Fox Tech High School, Texas Romo lettered in basketball, cross-country, and track. He competed in the State Meet for three years and won the State Mile Championship in 1961 and 1962. He also won the State Cross Country Championship in 1961. As a senior, he won the District Meet mile in 4:16.5 and State
Championship in 4:17.9 Romo made state track history when he ran 4:10.0 in the Gulf Coast AAU mile. Significantly, Romo’s
4:10.0 mile was the third best ever by a high school runner in the United States.
After graduating from high school, Romo enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin, becoming the first Latino from San Antonio to attend UT Austin on an athletic scholarship. As a freshman at UT, he set a national record in the mile [4:05.0] and ran on two relay teams that set national records for freshmen. Romo anchored a four-mile relay team that broke the old national collegiate freshmen record of by eight seconds [17:11.0]. In the distance medley competition, Romo anchored a team that also broke the national collegiate freshmen record of 10:00.5 with a run of 9:57.0.
In his senior year as a Longhorn [1966], Romo won two Southwest Conference races in record time: the mile in 4:05.9 and
the three-mile in 14:32.0, to lead the Texas Longhorns to an upset victory over Rice University for the Conference
Championship. At the NCAA Meet in Bloomington, Indiana, Romo placed third in the mile run with a time of 4:02.7 earning him All-American honors. Later that summer, [August 1966], Romo realized his sub-four minute mile goal at the All-Comers meet in Los Angeles, California. In a splendid performance, Romo became the first Texan ever to break four minutes. His record time in the mile was 3:58.8.
Romo finished his track career with distinction and is remembered for his competitive spirit, his stellar performances, and outstanding professionalism. After his track days, he earned a Ph.D. in History from UCLA and taught history at the University of California, San Diego, and the
University of Texas at Austin. His academic career served him exceptionally well and contributed to his selection as the President of the University of Texas at San Antonio in February 1999. He served as the University President for 18 years.