By Clarkston News Staff
When Clarkston Varsity Football won their first state championship in 2013, longtime head coach Kurt “KR” Richardson said it was for the community.
Nine years later, he was standing on the 50-yard line at Clarkston High School Stadium joined by the current team, alumni, coaches as the same community celebrated and honored Richardson, September 1.
He retired from the position after 35 years and through those years he led the Wolves to three MHSAA Division 1 state championships and had a 274-98 record, placing him at 16th in MHSAA history for the most wins as a football coach.
But it wasn’t the wins or the losses he would remember. He shared with The Clarkston News in February 2022 it would be the people he would remember.
“The best part of the whole thing for me is meeting so many outstanding kids,” Richardson shared. “So many outstanding families. It’s been the best part. It isn’t about the games. It’s isn’t about the wins, it isn’t about the losses. It’s about the people. Just great families who have supported us forever.”
He added it’s the families and community he has enjoyed most about coaching.
“It’s not often you get to come back and coach in your hometown; it’s very special,” Richardson said. “I think we have put out a pretty good program We have done it the right way with Clarkston kids.”
Clarkston announcer Neil Granlund shared some thoughts student-athletes shared about the impact Richardson had on them – on and off of the field.
“Coach KR, as student-athletes, coaches make up a pretty big part of our careers. Not only do our coaches teach us about the sports but also invaluable life lessons like leadership, teamwork, accountability, mentorship and punctuality. These lessons stay with us for life, even after out time in the sport is over.
“Thank you for pushing me to be the best person I could be. Not only did you want me to success on the field but in life as well. There were countless times when I just wasn’t giving it everything I had. You recognized that and pushed me to give it my all. This is a lesson I will carry with me forever. It’s helped me in the classroom and everyday life. I know now not to settle and not to slack off no matter what the task is.
“Thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t. There were so many days that I wanted to quit and give up, but you didn’t let me. I’m not sure what would have happened if you let me walk away from the sport when I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. Your encouragement and support meant so much to me then and even more to me now. I want you to know that I am taking the lessons you taught us with me today. One day, I hope to be half the coach and mentor you are, to inspire and support other athletes like you have inspired and supported me.
“Coach KR, you will always be remembered as being one of the very best. You will truly be miss here in Clarkston. A true legacy that we as players, parents, coaches, teachers, family and friends will treasure for decades of Clarkston Pride to come.”
Clarkston Athletic Director Jeff Kosin presented Richardson with a football signed by players and coaches.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Congratulations, Coach Kurt Richardson! The Clarkston News wishes you a great retirement.
PHOTO: Kurt “KR” Richardson waves to Clarkston fans as he is honored before Clarkston Varsity Football’s home opener against Southfield A & T, Sept. 1. Photo: Larry Wright/ WrightActionPix