Ricky Santos, whose uniform No. 2 is among the few retired by the UNH football program, is in his third season as WR coach in 2015.
In 2014, Santos mentored understudy R.J. Harris to the single greatest statistical season in program history. Harris tallied a school single-season record 100 catches to match the program benchmark for single-season yards at 1,551 with David Ball, who was Santos’ primary target from 2004-06. Harris led the nation in receiving yards and ranked third in receiving yards per game; he also ranked ninth in receptions per game (7.1) and fifth in receiving TDs (15). He led the CAA in receiving yards, receiving yards/game, receptions per game and receiving TDs. In 2013, Santos guided a dual threat of WRs in R.J. Harris and Justin Mello that became the first ‘Cat teammates to each record 1,000 receiving yards.
Santos was a four-year starter at quarterback (2004-07) who led the Wildcats to a 37-14 record. Over that time, Santos guided New Hampshire to the NCAA I-AA/FCS playoffs all four seasons, led the squad to its first-ever D-I postseason victory at Georgia Southern (Nov. 27, 2004), was part of the 2005 Atlantic 10 championship team and two A-10 Northern Division titles (2004, 2006).
The Bellingham, Mass., native ranks first in D-I FCS history with 2,140 career plays, he is No. 3 all-time in passing yards (13,212) and touchdown passes (123) and fourth in total offense (14,615 yards). Santos hooked up with UNH’s all-time leading receiver David Ball for 53 touchdowns in three seasons to set an FCS record for most career TD connections for a QB-WR duo.
In 2006 Santos won the Walter Payton Award as the most outstanding offensive player in FCS football. The then-junior, who finished a mere five points away from garnering the honor the previous season, threw for 3,125 yards and 29 touchdowns.
In his 2004 rookie campaign, Santos was named the ECAC Rookie of the Year, Atlantic 10 co-Rookie of the Year, set the FCS record for most yards gained by a freshman in a game (538) and touchdown passes in a season (31). Santos was named to the All-Atlantic 10 Team his first three years of eligibility, including two Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year awards (2005, 2006). In 2007, the quarterback earned a spot on the All-CAA First Team and was named the CAA co-Offensive Player of the Year; he is also one of only four players in FCS history to be feted as a Walter Camp All-America three times.
Santos possesses the University’s career records in pass attempts (1,498), completions (1,024) and passing yards (12,189). He holds the top three and four of the top five single-season records in completions, headlined by 301 in 2005 to go along with 293 (No. 2, ’06), 272 (No. 3, ’04) and 256 (No. 5, ’07). His ’05 season included a school-high 3,797 passing yards, while his ’04 total of 3,318 yards ranks second all-time. He also holds the No. 4 (3,125, ‘06) and No. 7 (2,972, ’07) passing-yards marks.
Santos owns UNH’s single-game record for highest percentage of passes completed (96.2 percent) when he went 25 of 26 for 306 yards and five TDs in a 52-21 defeat of Northeastern on Oct. 22, 2005. The signal caller established school single-game records for completions (37), passing yards (538) and TD passes (six) in a 51-40 win at Villanova on Oct. 2, 2004.
Following his graduation, Santos went on to play football professionally for five years. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs for a brief stint in 2008 before moving north to play in the Canadian Football League from 2009-12. He was a member of the Montreal Alouettes in 2008 and ’09 before a trade sent him to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He re-signed with the Alouettes for the ’10 and ’11 seasons and wrapped up his pro career on the Toronto Argonauts’ practice squad in 2012.