Southern University Athletics announced that the Fall 2018 season will kick off the inaugural “Pete Richardson Classic.” All future football home openers will commemorate the legacy of the “Dean of the SWAC” as Richardson is affectionately known. Richardson spent 17 years as the Southern Jaguar head football coach, leading them to five Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Championships from 1993 through 2003 and to four Black College National Championships.
The classic will kick off Friday, September 14 with the “Kickoff Extravaganza” featuring the Midnight Stars, followed by the home opener game, Saturday, September 15, where the Jaguars will take on the Lions of Langston University.
“When I first got here (Southern University), I just wanted to win football games. I wasn’t worried about being a celebrity or anything. All I wanted to do was make sure the people around me were compensated and players were in a position to get something out of the program,” said former Southern University head football coach Pete Richardson during Tuesday’s press conference at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
Coach Richardson is a big part of Southern University football history. But Richardson was more than just a coach. He was a role model for the players and the younger coaches at Southern. Banks said he remembered being welcomed by Richardson when he first arrived at Southern in 1996 and that the younger coaches tried to emulate Richardson in what he did on a day-to-day base.
“It was our goal as the athletic department to recognize this statue of a man, because of all the things he did, not just because of all of his wins and triumphs, but what he did off the field as well,” said Southern Athletic director Roman Banks.
SU President-Chancellor Dr. Ray L. Belton said Richardson isn’t just a winning coach, “but more importantly a molder of men. These are the kind of characteristics I think that defines the legend that we are acknowledging today and will formally endorse in a few weeks,” said Belton. “I describe him as a champion of Southern University.”
As Richardson approached the podium during the conference, he thanked Banks and Belton, and Southern University for the honor. He said Southern University meant a lot to him and his family as well. To this day he still calls Baton Rouge home because of the love and support, and people he met during his time as the Jaguars head football coach.
Before accepting the job as head football coach of the Jaguars, Richardson said the program was known as the “coach killer.” He said it had good players at the time but needed direction.
He went on to say that he decided to come to Southern because he knew the caliber of players they had and because of the then Southern University System President Dr. Dolores Spikes. “Because of Dr. Spikes I was able to put things in place that were needed, like direction,” said Richardson.
The Jaguars will honor Richardson’s lifetime achievements as a Jaguar during halftime at the game. They are also in the process of naming the field at A.W. Mumford Stadium in his honor. Richardson’s 1998 national championship team will also be recognized at that time, as they are celebrating their 20th anniversary.
All other former players during the Pete Richardson era are invited to come out for the celebration. A special package is available for players and their family that weekend. The packages include two tickets to the Jaguar Den end-zone suite, a parking pass, two drink tickets and food. Players will also be included in an on-field ceremony at halftime.
The Pete Richardson Classic is set to be a weekend to remember. The match-up between Southern and Langston also goes back over 80 years (1931-1957) to a SWAC rival. Langston was formerly part of the SWAC conference. Southern currently owns the lead 11-8 games of the Lions.
Langston University’s President Dr. Kent J. Smith Jr. is a Southern alum.
The Kickoff Extravaganza will be Friday, September 14 at 7 p.m. in the F.G. Clark Activity Center featuring Midnight Stars. Tickets begin at $20 for general admission.
The home opener will kick off at 6 p.m. in Mumford Stadium. Jaguar fans are encouraged to wear gold for the game.
Tickets for the weekend can be purchased at the SU ticket office. For more information visit www.gojagsports.com.