One of the most legendary sports figures in the history of Madison County has passed away.
Former Madison Central baseball and basketball coach Don Richardson died on Saturday after a lengthy illness.
He was 88.
Richardson was a beloved figure in the community and one of the most successful high school coaches ever in the state.
He was inducted into the National Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998, was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2002 and is also a member of the Kentucky Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2019, he was induced to the Eastern Kentucky University Athletics Hall of Fame as well.
Richardson married Ann Elkin Bush Tribble in 1965 and they were married for 44 years before her death in 2009.
Services are being handled by Oldham, Roberts & Powell Funeral Home in Richmond.
A private family service will be held 11 a.m. Thursday at First Christian Church, with Mark Condrey and Robert Vickers officiating. Service will be live-streamed at www.facebook.com/donrichardsonmemorial
Burial will follow in the Richmond Cemetery.
A register book will be available at the carport of First Christian Church from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday.
The coach led the 1982 Madison Central baseball team to a perfect 40-0 record and the KHSAA state title. The Indians were also named the national high school baseball champions by USA Today.
Richardson coached baseball for 35 years at Central and finished his career with a 952-157 record. His 85.5 winning percentage still ranks as the best in KHSAA history. He was named the Kentucky High School Baseball Coach of the Year in 1982 and 1983.
The baseball facility at Madison Central is named Don Richardson Field.
"Coach Richardson has been an inspiration to me as a coach," Central baseball coach Steve Roof said. "He was always passionate about Madison Central and the game of baseball. It was typical to see him at the field throughout the season. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy of grit, hard work and loyalty will always be remembered."
He was also a tremendous basketball coach.
In 16 seasons, Richardson won more than 350 games and led the Indians to their first state tournament appearance, reaching the semifinals in 1987.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Coach Richardson's family," Central basketball coach Allen Feldhaus Jr., said. "Coach was always very hospitable and friendly to me and my family. He will always be considered a legend and an icon of Madison Central sports."
Richardson played four years on the EKU baseball team for long-time coach Turkey Hughes. He played from 1952 through 1954 before entering the United States Army following his junior season.
During his freshman and sophomore seasons at EKU, he was 5-1 and 4-1 on the mound. In the 1954 season, he helped lead the team to its third Ohio Valley Conference championship in a five-year span, going 8-3 on the mound. Richardson returned to pitch his senior year for EKU in 1957 and had a 5-2 record on the year.
On the mound, he compiled a career pitching record of 22-7 at EKU. During his time in the U.S. Army, he made a stellar contribution pitching for the U.S. Armed Forces team, pitching for the Camp Losey baseball team that captured the 1955 Caribbean Command Championship.
In 2015, Richardson released an autobiography called Fodder on the Ground, which was co-written by Kyle Sowers.