Southern Univ. Dismisses Award-Winning Coach

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by Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. – Pete Richardson, the football coach at Southern University for 17 years, was fired Monday along with most of his staff.

Offensive line coach Damon Nivens, however, was retained and will serve as interim coach until a replacement is named, said Southern Athletic Director Greg LaFleur.

Known as the “Dean of the SWAC,” Richardson had a 134-62 record in his 17 years at Southern, a historically Black institution. That included four, 11-win seasons and one 12-win season.

Richardson was named the Black Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year in 1998, five-time Southwestern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, Washington D.C.’s Pigskin Club’s Coach of the Year three times and the 1999 Nokia Sugar Bowl Louisiana Coach of the Year.

But the Jaguars fished this season 6-4, 3-5 in the SWAC, including losing their last two games. The two setbacks included a 31-13 drubbing by Grambling in the Bayou Classic, the most lopsided loss in that contest since Richardson took over at Southern in 1993, and a 30-25 loss to Texas Southern to close out the season.

The Jaguars also haven’t won a conference title since 2003 and by Richardson’s own standards, this season was another disappointment.

Prairie View defeated Southern 16-14 on Oct. 22, all but eliminating the Jaguars from the championship race.

In a meeting last week with LaFleur and Chancellor Dr. Kofi Lomotey, Richardson was given permission to pursue other opportunities.

“Before today, I hadn’t really taken a look at any of them,” Richardson said later. “But (now) I’ve been given permission to take a look at some of those other opportunities.”

Richardson had another year on his contract, which pays him $205,000 annually. The school said in a news release on Monday that the total compensation had not yet been worked out.

No timetable has been set for bringing in a new coach, although LaFleur said that the process would begin immediately.

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