A Sacramento native, Dick attended Sacramento High School where he competed in football and track for three years. He was named an “All-City” guard in football in 1954 and while competing in track he threw the shot put 50’.
After high school, Dick attended Sacramento Junior College in 1955 and 1956 where he was a two year starter on the football team and a Nor-Cal finalist in the shot put. In 1957-1958 he attended San Jose State University on a football scholarship and also competed on the track team. In 1959, he was the Heavyweight Boxing Champion in the All-College Tournament. He received his degree in Physical Education in 1960 and continued his education receiving a Masters in Physical Education in 1961.
Coach Cristofani started his coaching career in 1961 at Del Mar High School in Campbell, California. He taught Health Education and was an assistant coach for the football and track teams.
In 1963, Dick returned to the Sacramento area when he was hired in Carmichael at La Sierra High School as a Physical Education Instructor, Head Track Coach and an assistant football coach. Under his leadership both the physical education and track programs flourished. He also played two years of semi-pro football for the Sacramento Lancers at this time.
American River College hired Dick in 1967 as a Health and Physical Education Instructor and an assistant track coach. His coaching assignment was to work with the field event athletes. While at ARC, Coach Cristofani had the privilege to work with John Powell who later became the world record holder in the Discus. In 1968, Dick coached Greg Born to the State Meet Shot Put Championship. He also coached Stan Ward who later became the California State Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1973-1976.
In 1970, Coach Cristofani moved to the new Cosumnes River College, as one of the college’s original faculty. He was hired as a physical educator, health educator and CRC’s first athletic coach. He coached CRC’s first athletic team (Cross Country). Dick also worked as an assistant football coach from 1971-1976 and he coached the cross country team again from 1976-1980. However, Coach Cristofani’s main coaching assignment was that of Head Track and Field Coach from 1971-1987. In that time, his team won the Valley Conference Championhsip once (1977) and he was selected as the “Outstanding Community College Coach of the Year” by the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. He also coached thirty of his athletes to Individual Conference Champions in sixteen different events (200M; 400M; 800M; 1500M; 5,000M; 10,000M; 110 High Hurdles; 400 Intermediate Hurdles; 400 Relay; 1600 Relay; High Jump; Triple Jump; Long Jump; Shot Put; Discus; and Javelin), seven to Northern California Champions in six different events (200M; 400M; Triple Jump; Long Jump; Shot Put and Hammer Throw), and three to State Champions in two different events. Mike Marlow was the State Champion in the Triple Jump in 1976 while Mike Songer and Cameron Baxter were State Champions in the Hammer Throw in 1979 and 1982 respectively. Cristofani coached Mike Marlow to the National Championship. Marlow was also the National Record Holder in the Triple Jump in 1976. Cameron Baxter was ranked first Nationally in the Hammer Throw in 1982.
In 1979-1982, Dick organized the CRC Weight Pentathlon, a five event winter competition that drew athletes from all levels of competition. There were three world record holders and two American Record holders at these events.
Because of his success, Dick was invited by numerous athletic programs to put on “clinics” throughout the United States. In 1981, the United States Olympic Development Program asked him to put on a two day Weight Training Clinic at the University of Illinois. He represented the U.S. State Department in 1985 as a guest Olympic Development Coach, coaching Olympic athletes from the Dominican Republic and again in Guyana in 1987.
Dick was hired as a Coordinator of Workplace Learning for the Los Rios Community College District in 1988 where he developed contracted partnerships between business, government and industry using the talent of the LRCCD. He became the Interim Director of the Program in 1998 and retired in 1999 after 38 years of working in Education.
Dick and his wife Diane live in Elk Grove and have four children: Amy, Craig, Andrea and Barry. They are blessed with seven grand children: Zach, Sam Nicco, Kirra, Natale, Thorquil and Ailsa.