M-I-Z, NFL, CIA, KTGR
Howard Richards, BA ’88, joins Mike Kelly in the Tiger Radio Network broadcast booth.
Many Tigers, One Roar
Howard Richards, BA ’88, stood on the sidelines as a Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman during what some say is NFL history’s most iconic moment. He watched helplessly as legendary quarterback Joe Montana delivered the end-zone strike to wide receiver Dwight Clark that gave the San Francisco 49ers a 28-27 victory in the 1982 NFC Championship.
“The Catch” has been replayed countless times on American TVs — and in Richards’ head.
“Ironically, one of my teammates at Mizzou, Eric Wright, played for the 49ers,” says Richards of the defensive back who helped San Francisco win Super Bowl XVI. “The Cowboys lost the NFC Championship game the following year, too, against the [eventual Super Bowl XVII champion] Washington Redskins. Those were my two best opportunities to get there.”
These days, Richards’ football experience translates into insightful commentary in the Tiger Radio Network broadcast booth. He joined Mike Kelly and replaced John Kadlec, who retired in January 2011.
“I’m learning the game from a different perspective,” Howard says. “As a broadcaster, you have to take a team’s game plan and anticipate what their strategy will be on the field while looking for unexpected things to relay to the audience.”
Different perspectives are nothing new to Richards. After retiring from football in 1988, he answered a newspaper ad and took a job with the CIA. The 6-foot-6, 263-pounder worked on the protective staff of four CIA directors and eventually started a business as an independent international security contractor. He was also a real estate agent in Washington, D.C., and Virginia. But with a communications degree, he never lost the radio itch.
Richards was in Saudi Arabia when he learned Kadlec would hang up his headphones, so he called his alma mater to inquire about the position. Now, heading into year two, he will help narrate the Tigers’ transition to the SEC.
“The bottom line is, it’s talking about football,” Richards says. “That’s something that I have always done, and I’ve always been good at. To do it at Mizzou, I can’t think of a better opportunity to start my broadcasting career.”