Sports obituary: Former LC head football coach dies

Published 12:12 am Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Staff report

SALISBURY — Greg Richardson, Livingstone’s head football coach for three seasons, has died.

Richardson was the defensive coordinator for head coach Rudy Abrams when Livingstone enjoyed a football revival in the 1990s.

Richardson graduated from Harding High in Charlotte in 1969. He played college football at North Carolina Central and earned a degree in 1974.

After coaching in the high school ranks, he embarked on a long college coaching career, most of it in the CIAA, when he was hired in 1982 as defensive backs coach at Johnson C. Smith.

He moved up t0 defensive coordinator at J.C. Smith and his defense keyed a 7-3 team — the best record for the Golden Bulls in years.

He moved on to be the defensive coordinator at Norfolk State. The Norfolk State defense that Richardson directed posted six shutout in three seasons.

Then he was defensive coordinator for a year at N.C. Central before heading to the University of Buffalo as DC in 1992-93.

The two seasons in Buffalo were his only coaching years spent outside the HBCU schools. They were challenging years in Buffalo as the program was making a transition from Division III athletics to Division I.

When Abrams was hired to coach Livingstone, he retained only one of the previous staff members. His first call was to Richardson. Abrams and Richardson had worked together at West Charlotte High, and Abrams wanted Richardson to run the Blue Bears’ defense.

Richardson became defensive coordinator at Livingstone prior to the 1994 season. He found aggressive, hungry players and put together excellent, blitzing defenses, as the Blue Bears started to win.

Livingstone had gone 1-10 in 1993, but then the Blue Bears opened the 1994 season by shutting out Fayetteville State, Virginia Union and Bowie State for a 3-0 start. Abrams and Richardson were the talk of the town and the CIAA.

After three seasons  with the Blue Bears, Richardson’s next two seasons were spent as Virginia Union’s DC.

Then Richardson got the call to follow Abrams as Livingstone’s head coach.

Richardson was head coach in Salisbury for three seasons, but the Blue Bears were starting to slide. They were 4-7, 2-8 and 1-8 and won only three CIAA games in those three seasons.

Win or lose, as a coordinator and head coach he molded a lot of young Blue Bears into men.

“He was a player’s coach, especially to me while I was at LC,” North Rowan principal Mike White said on social media. “He will be missed by many.”

Richardson was out at Livingstone after that 1-8 season, but landed on his feet. He always was in demand as a defensive coordinator, and he served in that capacity at Winston-Salem State, and then he had a second stint as DC at J.C. Smith.

Richardson’s defenses were stout enough that he got another head coaching shot at Virginia Union. But 5-5 wasn’t good enough there, and his contract wasn’t renewed after one season in Richmond.

The last stop for Richardson’s coaching career was at Winston-Salem State as defensive ends coach and recruiting coordinator, He recruited many of the players on exceptional teams, but then his health begin to decline in 2017.

“I have to give thanks to a great man, my linebacker coach who recruited me out of high school,” former Blue Bear Quincy Morgan said via social media. “He nurtured my college career and taught me many lessons about the game, but more importantly about life. Thank you, Coach Richardson. Take your rest.”