Jesse Lee Richardson
Jesse Lee Richardson
Nickname: Jess
Title: 2003 Inductee ( Basketball 1949-1951/Basketball Coach 1958-1962)

Texas A& M University-Corpus Christi has named former University of Corpus Christi basketball player and basketball coach, Jesse Lee “Jess” Richardson, as its 2003 inductee into the Athletic Hall of Honor.

Richardson was born and raised in Livingston, Texas.  He made his way to Corpus Christi in the late 1940’s after leading the 1939 Livingston High School team to a state championship.  He was an All State selection in both high school as well as while playing for Kilgore Junior College.  Upon his graduation from Kilgore he entered the service for a number of years.  Upon his return to the hardwood, Richardson became a team leader on the celebrated 1949-50 UCC Tarpon basketball team which ended the season with an incredible 25-1 record including wins over then NCAA powerhouses Oklahoma City University and Southwest Texas State University.

Richardson would return home following graduation from UCC in 1952 and begin a long, successful coaching career.  He would coach high school basketball teams in Leakey and Livingston throughout the 1950’s.  In 1958 he migrated back to UCC. Over the next few years he assembled a group of players that won 14 games in 1960 capturing the South Zone Championship of the NAIA.  Richardson’s success at UCC did not go unnoticed and he was lured to Austin where he joined the University of Texas’ coaching staff in 1963.  Richardson quickly gained a reputation as a strong recruiter in the capital city where he enjoyed a short two year stint.

Coaching was in Richardson’s blood ever since he took his first job at Leakey.  Upon his departure from Texas he returned to his roots in East Texas. For the next 20 years Richardson would influence the lives of young men and women throughout the state.  He taught and coached in places such as Rockdale, Kountze, Goodrich, Grapeland, Big Sandy, and George West.  His coaching resume was chalked full of a variety of sports including basketball, volleyball, track and field, and football. He retired from the George West Independent School District in 1983.

According to one of Richardson’s former UCC athlete’s, “Jess was not only a star basketball player, but he was an innovative coach with an outstanding eye for talent.  His East Texas swagger carried him throughout life.  Coach Richardson had a unique motivational style that left a lasting impression on students and players.”

Richardson married Darlene Estelle Roper in 1957 and they have two daughters Debbie Horton and Dana Howard, two grandchildren, Renee Walston Davis and Ryan Rachel and three great grandchildren Hunter Walston, Chance Walston, and Logan Walston. He lived in Tyler for the last eight years of his life before passing away on June 27, 1993 at the age of 71. He was preceded in death by on sister Avis McCoullough, and two brothers Dolphus and Bethal. He is also survived by three brothers: Bronson, Wilson, and Herb each of whom resides in East Texas.