Missouri Tigers football will have a new voice in the broadcast booth this fall. Former Tiger alumnus Howard Richards, who played seven seasons in the National Football League in the 1980s is joining play-by-play veteran Mike Kelly to provide color commentary for Missouri Tigers football this season.
Richards is replacing John Kadlec, who partnered with Kelly on Missouri games for 16 years and was affectionately referred to by Tiger fans as "Mr. Mizzou." Kadlec retired after the 2010 season. Kadlec has been a part of the Missouri athletic department, as a player, coach, broadcaster and administrator, for nearly six decades. He spent 16 years in the broadcast booth serving as a color analyst along with Kelly.
Ironically, Kadlec's career in sports broadcasting was never supposed to be. Just a couple of days prior to the start of the 1995 college football season, then-Mizzou athletic director Joe Castiglione (now the AD at Oklahoma) asked Kadlec to fill in as color commentator for the first game, against North Texas, as a personal favor.
"Joe asked me to do it, and I didn't really want to," Kadlec recalled. "So I told him I'd think about it. An hour later he came back to ask me what I thought. I could tell he was not going to take no for an answer." The rest is history.
Kadlec continues his affiliation with the University of Missouri in the role of special assistant to the athletic director, who is now Mike Alden.
Drafted in the first round of the 1981 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys, Richards started 40 consecutive games at offensive right tackle for Missouri from 1977 to1980 and achieved first-team All-Big Eight and second-team All-American honors. He played six seasons in the NFL with the Cowboys, and in four of those seasons, the Cowboys were NFL East Division champions. He ended his NFL career playing one season with the Seattle Seahawks.
"This is a unique opportunity," Richards said about his new gig with his alma mater. "How many times has a person that attends a university as a student athlete, then gets an opportunity to represent the school as part of the broadcast team? Given that coach Kadlec, who I'm replacing, recruited me, I just couldn't turn it down."
Richards earned a communications degree from the University of Missouri, which is another reason he is excited about his new broadcast opportunity and especially about being able to put his degree to work at his alma mater.
After retiring from professional football, Richards finished his undergraduate degree at Missouri and then attended graduate school at Ohio University. He went from grad school to a job completely outside of football, with the Central Intelligence Agency. He served 13 years with the CIA before entering the real estate business in Washington, D.C. In 2010, he moved back to St. Louis, where he grew up, and started his own personal security firm, which he still operates.
Even with his varied work background, the former Missouri star said he always wanted to get into the broadcast business, particularly working with college football.
"In the back of my mind, I always wanted to be in broadcasting," Richards said. "With the time spent on campus at Missouri preparing for this type of career, putting your educational foundation to work makes sense, and I'm looking forward to this new challenge in life."
The main voice of the Tigers, Kelly, had this to say about partnering with Richards in the radio booth: "His playing resume speaks for itself, and he brings a level of credibility to the broadcast that Missouri fans expect. The fact that he is an alumnus is an added bonus."