Jerry Richardson

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Jerry Richardson
No. 87
Flanker/Halfback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1936-07-11) July 11, 1936 (age 78)
Place of birth: Spring Hope, North Carolina
Career information
High school: Fayetteville (NC)
College: Wofford
NFL Draft: 1958 / Round: 13 / Pick: 154
Debuted in 1959 for the Baltimore Colts
Last played in 1960 for the Baltimore Colts
Career history

As Player

As Owner

Career highlights and awards
  • NFL Champion (1959)
  • NFC Champion (2003)
Career NFL statistics
Receptions 15
Receiving Yards 171
Total Touchdowns 4
Stats at NFL.com

Jerome Johnson "Jerry" Richardson, Sr. (born July 11, 1936) is the founder and principal owner of the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League.

Biography[edit]

Richardson came to Wofford College in the mid-1950s as an unheralded pass receiver from Fayetteville, North Carolina. By the time he left to begin his pro career with the Baltimore Colts, the passing combination of Charlie Bradshaw to Jerry Richardson had received nationwide fame. Richardson was an Associated Press Little All-America selection in 1957 and '58. He still holds Wofford's single-game record with 241 receiving yards vs. Newberry in 1956 and is the record holder for touchdown receptions in a season (9 in 1958) and in a career (21). As a senior at Wofford, he scored 72 points on nine touchdowns, 12 extra points and two field goals. Richardson calls his greatest honor being elected team captain in 1958. In 1983, he was chosen to Wofford's All-Time Football team as a receiver.

In addition to his prowess on the football field, Richardson was also active in numerous groups on the Wofford campus. He was a member of Kappa Alpha Order fraternity, President of the Inter-Fraternity Council, and member of the SCA Cabinet. Honors he received while at Wofford included Distinguished Military Student, Scabboard and Blade Military Fraternity, Sigma Delta Psi, Blue Key National Honorary Fraternity, and recognition in "Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges".

Drafted in the 13th round by the defending world champion Colts, Richardson played two seasons in the NFL, earning Colt Rookie of the Year honors in 1959. He caught a touchdown pass in the 1959 NFL Championship Game from Johnny Unitas.

Following his NFL career, Richardson embarked on a successful business career. Richardson used his 1959 NFL championship bonus with the help of Charles Bradshaw to open the first Hardee's Franchise in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The two ended up owning the Hardee's business 50/50. The business expanded rapidly under his hands-on management style. From headquarters in Spartanburg, he co-founded Spartan Foods which was the first franchisee of Hardee's. He later was the CEO of Flagstar, which was the sixth largest food service company in the nation, controlling 2,500 restaurants and 100,000 employees, and retired in 1995.[1] Richardson is the only person to be inducted into both the North Carolina and South Carolina Business and Athletic Halls of Fame.

A lifelong resident of the Carolinas, Richardson's dream was to bring NFL football to his home region.

On October 26, 1993, Richardson became the first former NFL player since George Halas to become an owner when the Carolina Panthers were unanimously awarded the NFL's 29th franchise.[2]

Richardson is well known for his calm and businesslike approach, and has played a prominent role in negotiations between the NFL and NFL players.[3] His relationship with his players, coupled with his position, have given rise to the nickname "The Big Cat".[4]

It had long been presumed that Richardson intended to have his sons, Mark and the late Jon (who died in July 2013 from cancer),[5] inherit the team. However, Richardson forced them out just before the 2009 season. On January 16, 2013, WBTV in Charlotte reported that Richardson wants the team sold after he dies, but presumably only to someone who will keep the team in Charlotte.[6]

Since the death of Ralph Wilson in 2014, Richardson is one of only two NFL owners (Houston Texans owner Robert C. McNair being the other) to have owned his respective team for its entire history.

Personal life[edit]

Richardson was hospitalized in Charlotte at Carolinas Medical Center in early December 2008, one month after receiving a pacemaker. Richardson, who had a history of heart trouble and had undergone quadruple bypass surgery in 2002,[7] was placed on a donor waiting list for a new heart two days later. He received a new heart on February 1, 2009, and he has recovered from the transplant.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jerry Richardson. Knowitall.org. Retrieved on 2012-04-19.
  2. ^ http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1140299/4/index.htm
  3. ^ Jerry Richardson Tribute. Panthers.com. Retrieved on 2012-04-19.
  4. ^ Jaxon (2009-08-13). "This is what makes the Panther Franchise Unique: The Big Cat". Cat Scratch Reader. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  5. ^ Reed, Steve (2013-08-09). "Bears defense shines in 24-17 loss to Panthers". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  6. ^ Source: Richardson mandates Panthers be sold after death. WBTV, 2013-01-16
  7. ^ Mike Cranston Panthers owner Richardson needs heart transplant at the Wayback Machine (archived December 15, 2008). Associated Press
  8. ^ Carolina Panthers Owner Has Heart Transplant ESPN, February 2, 2009

External links[edit]