Richardson, Southern At Odds Over Pact

By Joseph Schiefelbein
Updated: December 19, 2004

Pete Richardson
Pete Richardson

BATON ROUGE, La. — The latest snag in the negotiations for Southern football coach Pete Richardson is over the length of his new contract.

The school offered him three years Wednesday. Richardson wants five years, similar to his last extension, put together in February 2000.

With no deal, Richardson, a bedrock for 12 seasons at SU, could be looking to go elsewhere.

“I guess I have to get a resume together and find out what’s still available,” Richardson said.

Richardson, however, has yet to talk to any others. Interested schools must first get permission to talk to Richardson from Southern Athletic Director Floyd Kerr.

Richardson and his attorneys, Wade Shows and Jim Wayne, met with Southern Chancellor Edward Jackson, Kerr and Winston DeCuir Sr., the school’s attorney.

“He’s had 12 years without a losing season and they can’t commit. That’s unfair,” Shows said.

“We’ve been talking about five years for a year-and-a-half. (Wednesday), all they would offer us is three years,” Shows said. “We said five or nothing. So we have a big impasse.”

Jackson said he would not discuss the negotiations, because they were a personnel matter.

Kerr does not have an active role in the negotiations.

DeCuir did not return a phone message left at his office.

Shows said he told DeCuir earlier this week that a meeting would be fruitless unless the deal was for five years.

“From the very beginning, all they’ve talked to us about was a five-year contract,” Shows said. “The five years was never an issue until we said you need to take out the 60-day provision.”

That provision, Shows said, allows the school to relocate Richardson within the athletic department, on a 60-day notice, to a newer, lower pay scale corresponding to that new position.

Shows said SU is willing to adjust that provision, with the school still able to relocate Richardson but to do so at substantially more money, 80 percent of the new salary.

The meeting Wednesday couldn’t get past the sticking point of the length of the deal.

“We never got a chance to negotiate on money or anything,” Richardson said.

Shows said money isn’t the issue and hasn’t been an issue since the late summer.

DeCuir earlier said the school was prepared to make Richardson, 59, the highest paid coach in Division I-AA.

In September, the school offered a package worth at least $205,000.

Richardson’s current contract expires at the end of June. Richardson currently has a base salary of $152,000, including a $12,000 housing allowance. There are also incentives worth up to $30,000.

Shows said a three-year extension might be fine for a newer, unproven coach, but not for Richardson.

“This guy has a track record,” Shows said. “This isn’t a new product.”

Richardson is 105-38 (73.4 percent) at SU and 147-51-1 (74.1 percent) in 17 seasons as a head coach. That includes four black college national titles and five Southwestern Athletic Conference championships, plus this season’s Western Division title, at SU.

“He’s willing to say this is where he’s willing to spend the final portion of his career,” Shows said. “We just can’t let this guy leave. That would be a loss for Southern.”

No further meetings were scheduled coming out of Wednesday’s conference.

If Richardson doesn’t land a job elsewhere, Shows said Richardson would continue to work at SU through June. Richardson spent Wednesday afternoon recruiting in New Orleans.

“It’s still in a stalemate,” Richardson said. “I still have to do the best thing for Pete Richardson, too, while there are still opportunities available.”