Jerry Richardson was offered a scholarship to play football at Wofford College, where he saw immense success on and off of the field. Richardson still holds the record for receiving yards in a game (241) as well as most touchdowns in a season (9) in 1958 as a senior. In 1959 he was a 13th round selection of the defending champion Baltimore Colts. He played two seasons in the NFL and received Colts Rookie of the Year honors for the 1959 season.
His most famous moment came that rookie year when he caught a touchdown pass in the championship game from NFL legend Johnny Unitas. Richardson then retired from football and took his championship game bonus to purchase his first Hardee’s fast food restaurant with the help of partner Charles Bradshaw. His success turned into Spartan Foods and later became CEO of Flagstar, the sixth largest food services company in America.
In 1993, two years before his retirement in food services, Richardson became the first former player to own an NFL franchise since Bears’ legend George S. Halas as he was awarded NFL’s 29th franchise-the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers currently hold their annual training camp at Wofford because of Richardson.