Carolina Panthers founder, former owner Jerry Richardson dies at 86

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Jerry Richardson, the founder, former owner and native Carolinian, died at age 86 on Wednesday night, the team announced Thursday.

Richardson brought professional football to the Queen City on Oct. 26, 1993 when the Panthers were awarded an expansion bid, with the franchise kicking off its inaugural season two years later in 1995.

He owned the team until 2018 when it was sold to current owner David Tepper.

Following the announcement of Richardson’s death, the Tepper family released the statement below:

His legacy in the Carolinas went beyond the Panthers, as he played college football at Wofford College in Spartanburg, where the team has held every training camp since its inception.

The native of Spring Hope, N.C., oversaw the Panthers reach the Super Bowl twice during his ownership and brought in some of the team’s most beloved players, including Cam Newton, Thomas Davis, Steve Smith and countless others.

The Panthers reached the playoffs eight times under Richardson, winning six division titles.

The football stadium at UNC Charlotte is also named in his honor, as does Wofford’s basketball arena.