Back Terrier Titans: A Wofford Legacy

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Terrier Titans: A Wofford Legacy

By Southern Pigskin Staff
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Three graduates of Wofford College - Jerry Richardson, Danny Morrison and Will Webb - have had a profound impact on football in the Carolinas.

* This article was generously provided to Southern Pigskin by Helen Sowell, staff writer for "Charlotte Collegiate Football". Her bi-weekly newsletter can be found at


Football fans in the Carolinas owe a debt of gratitude to Wofford College of Spartanburg, SC and three local alumni who bring post-season college and NFL games to Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium each season. This hyper-driven trio credit their undergraduate experiences with developing the character, work ethic and ambition needed for career success. Who are these tenacious Terriers? Jerry Richardson -  Owner, Carolina Panthers (Class of ’59), Danny Morrison – President, Carolina Panthers (’75) and Will Webb – Executive Director Charlotte Collegiate Football (’73).

Their success stories are as different as their career paths, yet they share an overriding commonality: they were instilled with values on that nurturing, yet challenging campus whose faculty had a passion for teaching, where students felt equal and respected no matter their varied social or economic backgrounds and “everyone was integrated into the fabric of the institution,” Morrison explains. Each fondly remember academicians who left indelible imprints as they imparted the Wofford mission statement: excellence in character, performance, leadership, service to others and lifelong learning.  

Jerry Richardson, 76, grew up in Fayetteville, NC, an only child whose father was a barber and his mother a store clerk. Because his mother worked, he spent significant time with his grandmother and her three sisters who “kept him straight.” “Women have always played an important part in my life, but especially in my younger days before I got interested in sports.”  He learned at an early age the importance of hard work and being “active”. “Where I’m from, if you owned your own home and made $10,000 a year – well, you made it. That was a big deal.” So he got busy in the classroom and on the gridiron, playing for Coach Bob Prevatte, a Wofford grad who facilitated a visit to Spartanburg. “Coach Conley Snidow offered me ¼ of an athletic scholarship worth $200 and since that was $200 more than nothing, I was happy to get it.” 

Being “active” understates Richardson’s years as a Terrier. Not only did he play wide receiver but also kicker, safety and kick-off/punt returner. The Dean of Students, Frank Logan, named him Hall Manager which was helpful because it paid $29/mos; he was in Kappa Alpha fraternity, President of the Inter-Fraternity Council, Distinguished Military Student, Scabbard & Blade, Blue Key and Who’s Who in American Colleges Universities. He also held several part-time jobs on campus and worked at the Fayetteville Post Office during Christmas break.  How did he manage such a full plate? “I graduated with a C average, “ he chuckled, “but the faculty was very dedicated and for me especially Dr. Lewis Jones from the history department and Dr. John Hill, my math professor. They wanted me to succeed in more than just sports and impressed upon me the importance of treating others well and being respected by others which I practice to this day.” Morrison adds that Dr. Jones loved Mr. Richardson for his passion and his integrity. “He was one of the most highly respected professors, renowned for his intellect, campus spirit and ability to see things in people they may not see in themselves.”

In 1959, the world champion Baltimore Colts drafted Richardson. He successfully played wide receiver for two years being named Colt “Rookie of the Year”. His contract was for $9,750.00 so he requested an additional $250.00 to reach that engrained threshold of $10K. The request was denied so he retired. “Seeing my family members work so hard, I hoped I would never have to work for somebody. It was 1961. I was 25, married with a child on the way. I took our net savings of $2,800 and invested in a new company with a former college teammate, Charlie Bradshaw. We flipped a coin – he was President, I was Vice President.” That company was Spartan Foods based in Spartanburg. With no track record, two entrepreneurs made selling 15-cent hamburgers into a corporate conglomerate where Mr. Richardson enjoyed a brilliant 34-year career. In recognition, he is the only person in both the NC and SC Business Hall of Fames and the NC and SC Athletic Hall of Fames.    

Richardson had greater ambitions. “I was 50, I had no debt and I was making more than $10,000. In April 1987 I decided to go after an NFL team for the Carolinas”, he reflects. True to form, after 6 ½ years of “laser-like focus” (says Morrison) he was awarded the 29th franchise of the NFL.

In 2009, needing a new president, Mr. Richardson looked no further than his Wofford roots. He hired Burlington, NC native Danny Morrison. Morrison, 58, explains that Wofford provided opportunities to grow not only in the classroom (he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Bata Kappa) but also as a student athlete. A high school basketball player, he fortuitously received a letter from the Terrier coach inviting him to try out. “Coach Gene Alexander was a wonderful man and smart enough not to offer me a scholarship but he did encourage me to come and earn a place on the team, so I did.” Danny lettered four years and it was during his freshman season that he came to meet Richardson. “I met Mr. Richardson during Thanksgiving break. He and his family would invite athletes to their home so they could enjoy that family experience.” Morrison adds, “the quality of the education was superb yet the caring for the individual was even better. There was stability with the faculty, athletics and administration. In fact since its founding in 1854 there have been only ten presidents.” Past President, Joe Lesesne, holds a special place in Danny’s heart. “Dr. Lesesne was Dean of the College my freshman year and he taught one class, Western Civilization which I took both semesters. The following year he was named President at age 33. He was a wonderful man. He had chances to go other places people would say are bigger/better but he loved what the college stood for and he was a catalyst for quantum leaps on the Wofford campus. One of the many attributes was his management style. He was an encourager with high expectations but he wanted you to take risks knowing it would make you better.”

Like Richardson, Danny Morrison is a “builder”. Beginning at age 21 he steadily advanced from high school and college teacher/coach to Athletics Director at Wofford by age 31. He served from 1985-1997 then became Senior Vice President of the college from 1997-2001. Concurrently, he obtained a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from UNC in 1981 and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from USC in 2000. Continuing his pursuits, he moved on to Southern Conference Commissioner in 2001 then Athletics Director at TCU in 2005 enhancing the athletics department with his upbeat management style, people skills and positive energy, ala Dr. Lesesne. 

When Richardson came calling “he didn’t mince words,” Danny says. “I have an extraordinary opportunity that I think you would love but I can’t tell you anymore than that – are you interested. That’s all he said and because of the trust I have in him, I said I was.” As team President, Morrison is responsible for business operations and BofA Stadium business interests as well as representing the organization in league matters.

As for college football, Will Webb may be behind the scenes (and he likes it that way) but without his direction, the ACC Championship and Belk Bowl would not enjoy the enormous success they have in Charlotte. “My journey is quite different from these other two,” Webb explains. The 61-yr old Charlotte native chose Wofford to be close to home after his father passed away suddenly while Will was in high school. He remembers it being an “accepting place” with classes of less than 30 students taught by full time professors. “It seemed like every freshman had a ‘special’ professor – one that took a unique interest in you – for me that was Dr. Joe Killian, a history instructor. “He knew I wasn’t ‘focused’ so he gently read me the riot act.”

A Government major, Webb followed with a law degree from Wake Forest School of Law in 1977. Returning to Charlotte, he worked as an associate with a local firm then as Senior Corporate Counsel with Barclays American before moving to the Title Company of NC in 1988. Like his schoolmates, he then “built” his own company in 1999 before selling in 2001. In the late 1990’s he became President of the Charlotte Basketball Committee, which lead to a part-time job with Raycom Sports involved with the new Continental Tire Bowl. “I didn’t know anything about football but I said I’d give it a shot,” he explains. He became the fulltime director of the ACC Football Championship and in 2010 was named Executive Director of Charlotte Collegiate Football which serves as the local organizing committee for the Dr Pepper ACC Championship game and as the owner/operator of the Belk Bowl. His duties include overseeing marketing, ticket design, advertising, sales, stadium liaison and conference and NCAA relations.

Indeed, these Terrier Titans started from different places and traveled different career paths but the core values imparted at Wofford College made the trip - indelibly imprinted in their legacy.    

Well done, gentlemen. Well done Wofford!       


* This article was generously provided to Southern Pigskin by Helen Sowell, staff writer for "Charlotte Collegiate Football". Her bi-weekly newsletter can be found at