UA to honor first African-American scholarship football player

University of Arkansas officials will honor Jon Richardson, the school’s first African-American scholarship football player, at a celebration event before Saturday morning’s football game against Auburn.

The event is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 at Difference Makers Plaza, located near Gate 10 at the northwest corner of Razorback Stadium.

A native of Little Rock, Richardson lettered for then-coach Frank Broyles’ Razorbacks from 1970-72. He broke a school record with 501 kickoff return yards in his final collegiate campaign. His 19 rushing touchdowns still ranks on the UA career record list.

UA Interim Chancellor Charles Robinson, Athletics Director Hunter Yurachek and members of the late Richardson’s family will dedicate a plaque in Richardson’s honor.

Yurachek said Richardson helped pave the way for thousands of future student-athletes, including several other Razorbacks like Darrell Brown and Hiram McBeth (football) and Thomas Johnson, Vernon Murphy and Almer Lee (men’s basketball).

“It is certainly fitting that we as we celebrate the lasting legacy of Jon Richardson, we recognize him as a true ‘Difference Maker’ for our program, our campus and our state,” Yurachek said. “The courage and determination displayed by Richardson, and many other Razorback trailblazers, helped strengthen the University of Arkansas. We are grateful for their contributions and for the lasting positive impact of their dedication.”

In addition to the plaque dedication, Richardson’s family will be the honored guests at the lighting of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Friday at 7:40 p.m. as well as serve as honorary captains for the Auburn-Arkansas game at 11 a.m. on Saturday.