November 20, 2013 - When Kurt Richardson, long-time head coach for the Clarkston Varsity Football team, hit the achievement of 200 wins on Nov. 8 he contributed it to all the players and his coaching staff.
Longtime Clarkston Varsity Football Head Coach Kurt Richardson celebrates his 200th victory. From left, his aunt Alene Luddington, Richardson, sister Cathy Albery, Dave Albery, and brother Craig Richardson. Photo by Larry Wright (click for larger version)
But family, friends, football players and his assistant coaches attributed it to Richardson.
"Our family is very proud of what he has accomplished in his victories," said brother, Craig Richardson. "We are very proud on how he has conducted himself and everyone he has touched in the Clarkston football program throughout the years."
Craig added nothing is more gratifying to the family than sitting in the bleachers during football games. They have been going to all the games since Kurt started coaching.
"He is a very proud man but humility is his number attribute," Craig said. "He is very humble. The family couldn't ask for a better brother."
Kurt has coached for 27 years and currently has a 201-75 record, following the Wolves' 56-28 win over Rochester Adams on Saturday for the MHSAA Regional title. He joined 51 coaches in accomplishing over 200 victories.
"He has won the Clarkston way, the same way he learned with who we had. He has continued it," said Dan Fife, Clarkston Athletic Director.
"He truly is an example for all of the coaching staff with the work ethic you need to be successful. To average eight wins a year is hard in today's world with the dynamics of kids changing. Every year is a new year. I know how hard he worked to get the job. I know how hard he has worked since he got the job. He truly is an example for all of the coaching staff with the work ethic you need to be successful. I am happy having him a coach here as an AD, it makes my life a little easier."
Defensive coordinator Tony Miller added if it wasn't for Kurt calling him up 20 years ago he wouldn't be coaching.
"He has taught me the game," Miller said. "We have evolved so much in the last 20 years but the foundation started with him - the way we play now, the way we coach now, the way we call things now are completely different.
"This program would not be where it is today without Kurt Richardson," he added. "Without his dedication and without his ability to lead we would not be where we are today. No doubt. The hours he puts in in the off season with the kids and for the kids I don't think you will see future generations of coaches do that. I really don't but that's what it takes to win."
Former players shared their thoughts on Richardson achieving the milestone:
Eric Eberle, Class of 2013, player for Adrian College: "It was good to hear my coach is one of the coaches who reached it. I am happy to part of those wins."
Learned from Kurt: "He taught us about your attitude being how you can not only take football but life. Your attitude is going to impact what you take out of life. It translated into your effort and your pride on the field and pride of Clarkston football.
Jesse Chadwell, Class of 2013, player for University of Illinois:"It's awesome. I felt like he reached it a long time ago because he is such a great coach and he has such a winning program."
Learned from Kurt: "Never be satisfied. No matter what you can do there is something you can do better. Playing for Coach KR definitely made me humble. He never let me get too cocky and he always stayed on top of me and work. It made me a better player."
Nick Azzopardi, Class of 2013, attending University of Michigan: "It definitely speaks to the culture of the program - 200 wins is a lot of wins. He has created a culture of winning at Clarkston. As players you understand that and you understand you aren't just a part of one team you are part of the entire Clarkston football program."
Learned from KR: "You have to be willing to put in the work on your own if you want to be successful and the amount of dedication it takes to be successful. It is doing the little things. The little things it takes to win can be translated to life in general."
Nick McInally, Class of 2011, player for Butler University: "It is a testament to the system Coach Richardson brought in when he started. He changed the culture of Clarkston Football. Not many coaches last as long especially not at one school. It proves Clarkston really accepts him as a valuable part of the community."
Learned from Kurt: "He always instilled in us the ethic of hard work and most importantly how do deal with adversity. It was one of the things he always mentioned. He always mentioned things aren't going to go the way you plan and you have to be willing to adapt and embrace the opportunities that come with adversity."
Jeremy Fife, Class of 1995: "It's a great thing for him. He has been very true to Clarkston football. He's a great individual and him doing the way he has done it and built the program over the period of years is a testament to who he has surrounded himself with as well as the entirety of the program.
Clarkston in general is a great community and for me to be a part of helping him reach that milestone is a great sense of pride."
Learned from KR: "Always work your hardest. When I played we weren't very the most athletic team. We weren't the biggest team. We always faced opponents who were bigger and maybe more athletic. Most of the time we came out on the winning end. It was the discipline in which he ran the program and outworking your competition and being in better mental shape that's what KR taught me."
Tony Miller, Class of 1990, current defensive coordinator for the Wolves: "It was very special (to be there for the win). I think both of us had tears in our eyes. It was a special day. We were confident he would always achieve it. I hope he sticks around for 300 because it would mean he would be coaching my kids."
Learned from KR: "You fear no one, you respect everybody and you treat others how you want to be treated."
Don Rush, Class of 1981, played for Clarkston JV Football under KR: "It is a testament to his stick-to-itness and the community's support of the program. He is a good football man. He is passionate. He grew up here. He has supported the community as much as the community has supported him."
Learned from KR: "Always try your hardest. Get back up and try it again. I always remember him smiling and laughing.He nicknamed me 'Astro.' People still call me Astro. They called me Astro because on the sidelines I never shut up, but I never took out my mouthpiece so I sounded Astro from the Jetsons."
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.