FAYETTEVILLE – The coronavirus pandemic fatally hit home to longtime fans of Razorbacks football.
Richard “Doughnut” Richardson, Arkansas’ nose guard during the 1979-82 portion of the Lou Holtz era, died Thursday at 60 hospitalized in Little Rock after testing positive for covid-19.
A Little Rock Central alum, Richardson didn’t stand tall at all in the defensive line at under 6-feet. But his heart, strength and quickness loomed large against the centers trying to block him and the quarterbacks and running backs he plowed into the turf.
He opened as a surprise starter on Holtz’s 10-2 Southwest Conference co-champion team of 1979, the only conference title in Holtz’s seven Arkansas seasons, and finished as an All-SWC senior on Holtz’s 1982 Razorbacks that went 9-2-1.
Just as he overcame lack of height on the field, Richardson overcame drug addiction off of it, learning from and relating to others his past to become treatment coordinator at the Hoover Treatment Center in Little Rock.
Covering those Razorbacks, Doughnut came a long way as a spokesman, too. Initially shy with media, Richardson mumbled the minimum that freshman year thrust into the limelight. By his sophomore year, Doughnut still kept the words relatively scarce to media, but what he said always covered much ground. Just like his deeds and words always did with his teammates and coaches.
Quoted by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Bob Holt, retired Little Rock Central Coach Bernie Cox best described Doughnut’s impact. “I coached 44 years in high school and we had some great players,” Cox said. “But none of them had a better heart or cared more about the game than Richard Richardson. Richard was 100 percent Tiger when he played for Central, and when he went to Arkansas he was 100 percent Hog.”