Flashback: A Golden Return Man (1971)

The Brigham Young Cougars got a boost in 2010 on kick off returns when Cody Hoffman started returning them in the Wyoming game. JD Falslev had a nice 43-yard punt return in the New Mexcio Bowl. In 2011, Drew Phillips has the potential to be a deadly return threat as well. Special teams sparks are always welcome, but will BYU strike gold with any of these three? Forty years ago, BYU had a return man worth his weight in gold: Golden Richards.

Richards had his coming out party in the 1971 season opener against North Texas State. He had a combined seven returns (kick off and punts) on the day for a BYU record 247 yards. Most of these yards (219, another school record) came from punt returns. As impressive as these yardage totals are, Richards’ biggest feat was that he returned, not one, but two punts for touchdowns. The two punt return TDs was also a new BYU record.

This fast start in the returns department for Richards paid off in the long run as well. By season’s end, Richards had rewritten the BYU record book for returns. To this day, he still holds seven school returns records. No other former BYU player owns that many. Richards’ records are as follows:

  • Most Punt Return Yards, Game: 219 (North Texas St., 1971)
  • Most Punt Return Yards, Season: 624 (1971)
  • Most Punt Return TD, Game: 2 (NTSU, 1971)
  • Most Punt Return TD, Season: 4 (1971)
  • Most Punt Return TD, Career: 4
  • Most Combined Return Yards, Game: 247 (NTSU, 1971)
  • Most Combined Returns, Game: 10 (Arizona, 1971)
Richards was more than a bright spot on the 1971 team. As a return man he lived up to his name; he was Golden.

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