To play for championships, to graduate his players and to have a team whose members are well respected in society, both on and off the playing field, is the vision of success Southern University head football coach Pete Richardson has for his program.
The success of the football program under Richardson has been well documented. Southern University has four, 11-win seasons and one 12 win season - the 2003 Championship season in Richardson's tenure. Southern University has won five conference titles under Richardson, including back-to-back-to-back crowns in 1997, '98 and '99; and the 2003 SWAC Championship, puts the Jags and Richardson back into the football fray, as Black College National Champions, all while posting a 97-34 overall mark under Richardson's guise. His 97 wins ranks him second in SU's history, only trailing the legendary, AW Mumford.
Excitement and expectations are at an all-time high in Jaguar land. Southern continues to rank among the nations best in Division I-AA attendance per football game, and in 2000, Southern led all of NCAA division I-AA in attendance.
Exploding on the scene in 1993, Richardson's impact was immediately felt around the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) as he led Southern to a 11-1 season (only the school's second, 11-plus win season), its first conference title in 18 years (a shared title in 1975) and the school's first outright crown in 34 seasons (1959).
Though there have been setbacks in Richardson's 11-year stay, those setbacks have done nothing but breed more success. In Richardson's second season, Southern notched an inconsistent 6-5 mark, including a four-game losing skid -- the longest record of futility in the Richardson era.
After an off-season that focused on the 'basics of football,' a rigorous strength and conditioning regiment and a new defensive scheme, the Jaguars bounced back and posted the school's third 11-plus win season (11-1) and was declared national champions of black college football with a 30-25 win over Florida A&M University in the fifth annual McDonald's Heritage Bowl.
Richardson would use a rigorous off-season program to instill a winning attitude in the members of the Jaguar football team. His team would respond by going 11-1 overall and an undefeated 8-0 in conference play. Southern University claimed its second conference title under Richardson and was regarded as black college national champions by the American Sports Wire after handing South Carolina State a 34-28 defeat in Heritage Bowl VII.
With the Jaguars setting the standard in the SWAC, and now challenging for championships and national recognition, the Pete Richardson Era is well on its way to becoming one of the more colorful and legendary in collegiate football history.