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Ramon Richardson 'quiet leader' for championship teams

This is the second in a series featuring 2019 Broken Arrow Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees

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Ramon Richardson’s post-high school career is loaded with football accomplishments: a 2000 University of Oklahoma national championship, an Arena League title with the Tulsa Talons and a Red River Bowl victory with the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen.

His most improbable championship came in another sport, however, as he was captain of Broken Arrow High School’s first and only boys basketball state champion team in 1997.

“Ramon was always a quiet leader for our team,” said teammate and current BA head basketball coach Beau Wallace. “He was the heart and soul of that team. His leadership was shown by how he worked, and he did it with a smile on his face.”

For Richardson, the 48-46 championship over Tulsa Memorial was special for two reasons. First, was just the excitement of winning a state title. Second, Richardson attended Memorial before moving to Broken Arrow the summer of his junior year.

“The unique thing about that is I went to try out for the basketball team at Memorial and the coach wouldn’t let me walk on and play basketball,” Richardson recalled his experience as a sophomore. “He didn’t think I was talented enough. He didn’t even let me try out.”

The Tigers, who finished the year 22-7, came into the state tournament as the No. 8 seed. They upset top-seeded Midwest City in the opener and defeated Sapulpa, a team they had lost to twice in Frontier Valley Conference play, in the semifinals.

“That game was a special game,” Richardson said of the state final. “My teammates felt the tension and anxiousness I had. It felt real good after the game. I told some of the guys from Memorial that ‘I had to beat you. If I was playing for your team you might have won.’

“It’s not easy to win a championship. Everybody has to play their roles.”

Richardson’s role was more than that of a brawny, yet undersized inside player who “had some of the best footwork I’ve seen,” Wallace said. “He was dominant in the post. If the ball hit his hands it was going to be caught.”

Wallace capped his comments with what made Richardson special.

“Ramon is just a winner,” he said.

“Everybody knows that I like to compete,” Richardson said. “I tell everybody that my team will win before your team. I just have confidence in the people I play with, and that I can bring the best out of everybody. That was the thing about high school…we all believed in each other.

The team-reliant mentality, perhaps more than anything else, led to that historic 1997 Class 6A State Championship run at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. That accomplishment along with the OU National Championship have produced two “of my top three special moments in life.”

The third, and most likely number one, came outside the field of competition.

“Becoming a father would definitely be up there,” he said before adding to the list. “All the people I came across on my journey would be in the top three along with the different things I have been blessed to do or be a part of.”

That includes being a Trades Crew Leader for the Lake County, Fla., Parks and Recreation Department, where he oversees the maintenance of county’s extensive hiking trails system. Richardson’s journey, of which athletics was a major part, has allowed him to look back on the personal paths he has forged.

“For me, from where I came from, my life is like a 180 from how I was raised,” he reflects. “Football. Basketball. Everything helps mold you for adversity in life that you don’t notice until you’re going through it.

“The places I’ve been able to travel and the places I’ve been able to see…being the first one in my family to go to college and getting a scholarship, where my parents didn’t have to go into debt just for me to get an education or to grow up to be a man…to get there, you just look back and thank God you’re not where you could have been.”

The 2019 Broken Arrow Athletic Hall of Fame Class will be inducted at Broken Arrow's opening home football game against Owasso on Sept. 13.