Hall of fame inducts Coach Richardson

For Kurt Richardson, making the Hall of Fame reflects on all of Clarkston
‘The amount of pride coaches and players have in town, huge amount of pride in athletics all together,? Richardson said.
‘Clarkston football is legendary around Michigan. It’s kids working hard and having a good work ethic. I have been so fortunate to have great assistant coaches. I work with great people.?
He was inducted into Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, April 19, at University of Michigan.
‘I feel fortunate and blessed,? said Richardson, coach for 32 years and head varsity coach since 1987.
Richardson’s induction into the hall of fame was announced at the Wolves basketball game against Waterford Mott in the February district finals. Fans and students rose from their seats and gave a standing ovation.
‘That was a special moment,? said Richardson. ‘It was a surprise they announced it.?
During his coaching years, he has accumulated an overall record of 205-95 and led Clarkston to the MHSAA finals 10 times, including two back-to-back trips to the state finals in 1999 and 2000.
‘It’s a tremendous honor for Kurt,? said Clarkston Athletic Director Dan Fife, life-long friend. ‘It’s a accumulation of all the hard work he has put into the program.?
‘It’s a distinction well deserved,? said Superintendent Dr. Al Roberts. ‘He cares deeply about the program and players ? he does a terrific job as coach and a great job guiding young men. That’s what we’re most proud of.?
Richardson has many fond memories coaching football, but three games will always stand out. One is the regional game against Macomb Dakota in 1999.
The Wolves were in their fourth overtime, in position to kick the extra point to tie the game or go for a two-point conversion and win.
Richardson chose to go for the conversion, and the Wolves won, 57-56.
‘He made a gutsy move to go for the two-point conversion,? said Steve Pearson, friend and assistant coach.
‘It was one of the great tournament games,? said Fife.
Another fond memory for Richardson was a game against Pontiac Northern. The team was down 21 points, but they prevailed and won the game.
The third memory that sticks out for Richardson was when the Wolves beat rival Lake Orion in the 2006 district finals.
Earlier in the season Clarkston had lost to the Dragons, 32-8.
‘Nobody thought we had a chance. No one came because they thought we would be beat again,? said Richardson.
The Wolves traveled to Lake Orion’s stadium and won the game, 34-14.
For many of Richardson’s players, football means learning about more than the game.
‘He taught us to work hard,? said senior Erik Thompson. ‘Not just in football, but in life.?
Thompson was coached by Richardson during his two years on the varsity team.
‘I am really happy for him,? he said. ‘He made everything fun. No matter what we did, he taught us to have fun and not get caught up in everything. I will always remember him.?
‘He’s a real good coach,? said senior Devere Enoch. ‘He deserves it. I think he’s a small coach but really intimidating, really stern. He wants something, you better do it or you will suffer the consequences. He just wants perfection and the best you can do.?
Phil Price, varsity assistant coach and varsity head coach of baseball, has coached with Richardson for the past 16 years.
‘If you ask anyone about Clarkston football, first thing that comes to mind is Kurt Richardson,? Price said. ‘He built the program. Loyal, to me, describes Kurt. You won’t find a man more loyal to Clarkston football, his assistant coaches, his players, and Clarkston.?
‘He put his heart and soul into the program,? said Adam Kern, one of Richardson’s assistant coaches for the past eight years. ‘It wouldn’t be where it is without him.?
Tony Miller has coached with Richardson for 13 years. He has also played for Richardson in 1988, 1989, and 1990. When Miller was asked to be on the coaching staff, he said yes.
‘When people talk about Clarkston football, they talk about Kurt Richardson. He is a true leader when it comes to coaching football,? said Miller. ‘He is a father figure and friend. I am lucky to have been coached by him. It is an honor to be on his staff.?
Pearson has worked with Richardson since his first day as head coach. When Richardson became head coach, he asked Pearson to be an assistant coach. They met in 1974 when they worked together at Parks and Rec.
‘It is pretty outstanding and well-deserved,? Pearson said about Richardson’s induction. ‘He believes in blue and gold and Clarkston football. I am honored to have a friend like him. He is more of a role model to those who have had him.?
Fife has been friends with the Richardson family since 1962.
‘The success tells how hard coaches and kids work,? Fife said. ‘If the kids don’t believe in the coach, it doesn’t work.?
Richardson loved athletics while growing up. As a boy, he was always playing football. He joined his first organized team when he was in seventh grade. He continued to play until he graduated Clarkston High School in 1971.
He left Clarkston for a little while, but came back after graduating from Oakland University.
Richardson is a member of Clarkston Athletic Boosters. His father was one of the people who started the organization in 1966.
‘Without it, athletics would be hurting,? said Richardson.
He has taught physical education at Clarkston High for 32 years.
‘I still look forward to going to school every morning. I love the kids. They keep you young.?
Richardson works 365 days a year as Clarkston’s football coach. He checks on his players throughout the year and runs his program much like a college program with training during the off-season.
Michigan High School Football Coaches Association began the hall of fame in 1982. Every year coaches with a minimum of 100 wins or a minimum of 20 years of coaching in Michigan are inducted into the hall of fame.