Jerry Richardson

Jerry Richardson
Jerry Richardson
Jersey #(s)
Born July 11, 1936 (1936-07-11) (age 75)
Spring Hope, North Carolina
Career information
Year(s) 19591960
NFL Draft 1958 / Round: 13 / Pick: 154
College Wofford College
Professional teams

As Player

As Owner

Career stats
Receptions 15
Receiving Yards 171
Total Touchdowns 4
Stats at
Career highlights and awards
  • NFL Champion(1959)

Jerry Richardson (born July 11, 1936 in Spring Hope, North Carolina) is the current majority owner and founder of the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League.



Jerry Richardson is a native North Carolinian whose dream was to bring NFL football and the world championship he knew as a player with the Baltimore Colts of the NFL to his home region of the Carolinas. With the Panthers in their second decade, Richardson has firmly established the NFL in the Carolina landscape while dedicating his efforts to making the rest of his vision a reality. Mr. Richardson is the only person inducted into the sports and business halls of fame in both South Carolina and North Carolina.

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. This followed a highly successful national and international career in the food industry.

A lifelong resident of the Carolinas, Richardson and his wife, Rosalind Sallenger Richardson, have two sons, Jon and Mark (who played football at UNC and Clemson, respectively), and a daughter, Ashley Richardson Allen, of Charlotte. The Richardsons have nine grandchildren and live in Charlotte. Two of Richardson's grandchildren have played varsity sports (football and volleyball) at Wofford College, his alma mater. At Wofford, Richardson was an exceptional student and athlete. He still holds most receiving records at the school, where he was a small-college All-American. Wofford retired his number in October, 2011.[1]Richardson remains an active and generous supporter of Wofford College, including sponsoring the competitive and comprehensive Richardson Family Scholars program for outstanding students and athletes. Richardson remains an active owner of the Panthers, but generally has allowed his front office staff and coaches to make decisions regarding player personnel and game strategy. He has always supported the Panthers in good and bad times, having never missed a Carolina home game until he was hospitalized before a December 8, 2008 Monday Night Football matchup against division rivals Tampa Bay. His connection with the team has led to the nickname "Big Cat".[2] Richardson is well known for his calm and businesslike approach, and has played a prominent and respected role in negotiations between the NFL and NFL players.

Personal life

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,[3] 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 is recovering well from the transplant.[4]

He opened the first Hardee's franchise in 1961 under Spartan Foods. The business expanded rapidly, under his hands-on management style. He later rose to CEO of Flagstar, controlling 2,500 restaurants and 100,000 employees, and retired in 1995.[5] He has maintained some interests in the food industry, including Bojangles Chicken.


Prior to the 2011 NFL Draft in which the Panthers had the first overall pick, Richardson asked Auburn quarterback Cam Newton to have a clean-cut appearance after Newton told Richardson he had no tattoos, piercings, and was thinking about growing his hair longer.[6] Although this is similar to a policy the New York Yankees has on all of its players, this gained some controversy on Richardson's part due to other players (most notably Steve Smith and Jeremy Shockey) had visible tattoos and, in Shockey's case, had longer hair earlier in his career with the New York Giants, with Richardson even being accused of racism.[7] Despite this, Newton agreed to Richardson's dress code policies as a condition of being drafted first overall, and the Panthers ultimately drafted Newton first overall in the draft.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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