The statistician who has tracked passing attempts and rushing yards at Wake Forest University home football games since 1980 holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics.
Richard Carmichael has taught courses on Linear Algebra and collaborated with mathematicians in Croatia, Poland, and India. His field of study is in Calculus-based math that he admits is “way over” the heads of his incoming students.
However, for a few months every year, Carmichael volunteers to do basic math by adding up points, rebounds, and steals at WFU home basketball games. The 76-year-old Professor has a structured mind that helps him stay organized while keeping stats.
“I really enjoy doing that much more than if I was just going to the game and sitting in the stands and watching,” Carmichael said. “It keeps your mind focused on what’s going on. You have to really pay attention.”
Carmichael has perfectly blended athletics and Mathematics for more than a half-century, starting in 1960 when the former star forward at what’s now High Point Central High School decided to attend WFU on a basketball scholarship.
More importantly to his long-term future, Carmichael decided during that memorable season that he would major in Math, attend graduate school, and pursue his goal of someday becoming a college professor.
“When I came to Wake Forest, it was not a foregone conclusion that I was going to major in Math because I considered Accounting. I took the two first Accounting courses,” Carmichael said. “I considered Physics.