Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Willie "Wonderful Willie" Richardson

Willie "Wonderful Willie" Richardson


  • Position: End
  • School: Jackson State
  • High School: Greenville, MS (Coleman HS)
  • Years: 1959-1962
  • Inducted: 2003
  • Place of Birth: Clarksdale, MS
  • Date of Birth: Nov 17, 1939
  • Place of Death: Jackson, MS
  • Date of Death: Feb 08, 2016
  • Jersey Number: 87
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 198

Member Biography

The son of a minister, Willie Richardson began playing football without the approval of his father. The elder Richardson found out about his son's playing by reading his name in the newspaper. When he came to Jackson State he was unable to play quarterback due to a hand injury. As a freshman he became a starter in the second game of the season after Jackson State lost their opener 52-6. Known as "Wonderful Willie," Willie Richardson became one of the most honored players in the great history of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Richardson was one of just a handful of players to be a four-time member of the Pittsburgh Courier Black All-America team. In addition, he was a three-time All-SWAC performer and a two-time NAIA All-America. In his final two seasons he led the Tigers to SWAC titles in 1961, and again the following season as Jackson State claimed the Black College National Championship. On offense, Richardson caught 171 passes for 36 touchdowns while he played safety on defense. At the end of his career, the city of Jackson held a "Willie Richardson Day" that included a parade as part of ceremonies that retired his jersey number and named him the first inductee into the Jackson State Hall of Fame. In the pros, Richardson was a seventh round selection by the Baltimore Colts. With the Colts and Dolphins, Richardson played eight seasons, catching 195 passes for 25 touchdowns.
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