BATON ROUGE, La. – Pete Richardson coached 17 years at Southern University, but when he first arrived on the Bluff, the coach from Winston-Salem State didn’t get the warmest welcome.
“They told me not to unpack because we don’t keep football coaches too long, and I told them I wasn’t going any place,” Richardson said, recalling a conversation with Southern fans at a hotel.
His confidence paid off. During his first year in 1993, Richardson led Southern to a 31-13 win against Grambling, but his first time being a part of the Bayou Classic was an eye-opening experience.
“Going to the experience of Winston-Salem State to experience of the Bayou Classic is entirely two different things. It’s almost like big-time football. You understand that the fanbases, the expectations, was real high at Southern University,” the former coach added.
Richardson met all expectations. His ’93 win was the first of eight-straight victories in the historic rivalry, but his seventh win in 1999, stood out above the rest.
Southern trailed Grambling 31-10 at halftime, but Coach Richardson didn’t allow the game to end after two quarters.
“We knew it was going to be a struggle. We were down at a halftime. What I didn’t want to do was go in and try to embarrass them, just going to try to get a little bit at a time. We gonna try to cut it a half. Then we’re goin to start making plays and making plays. Then all of a sudden, it got to a point where we pulled off a couple big plays, beating an outstanding football team there at the least minute.”
The Jaguars won the game 37-31. Richardson went 12-5 in the Bayou Classic, but the 26th edition of the rivalry has been a special memory for the retired Jaguar.
“I think it ranks at the top because you play the Bayou Classic for the fanbase. Your job is to go down and win it. That’s one of the things we try to instill in them: You’re going to have a good time after you win because that’s the expectation,” he said.
Richardson will of course be at the 47th annual game Saturday. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m.
Click the video for more on the story.