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Passion Richardson is one of the success stories in athletics that every coach loves to hear. The Palmetto, Fla., native came to Lexington, Ky., for the first time in 1993 with aspirations of becoming a successful component of the Kentucky track & field program. When she left in 1997, she did so as a four-time All-American and a UK record holder.
When a coaching position became vacant on Don Weber's staff in the summer of 2001, he immediatley looked to his former star to take over. This time when Richardson entered the program, however, her credentials were far more impressive than when she left Lexington four years earlier.
Richardson has been busy since 1997, earning national and international attention after a bronze medal performance in the 2000 Olympic Games. After completing a successful collegiate career, Richardson continued her sucess by winning a gold medal at the 1997 World University Games in the 4 x 100 relay. She then added a Pan-American Games silver medal to her collection for the 4 x 100 relay.
Richardson built on her personal successes from college in 2000 when she captured second place at the USA Indoor Championships in the 60 meters. She capped off her stellar running career in Sydney at the 2000 Olympic Games. Richardson was a part of the 4 x 100 relay team that returned to America with the bronze medal.
All of this followed a collegiate career that was impressive enough on its own merits. After graduating from Berea High School in 1993, Richardson decided to become a part of UK's successful track & field program. She made her impact immediately, earning her first All-America honor for the 55 meters in 1994. Two years later, she added two more - another for the 55 meters , and one for the 4 x 100 relay. Richardson's final honor came in her senior season for her performance in the 100 meters.
"As a freshman student-athlete, Passion brought maturity, self-sufficiency, commitment and competitiveness to UK that matched that of the best athletes I have ever known at any stage of their careers," Weber said. "Those personal qualities enabled her to have one of the most successful careers of any UK track athlete."
"Passion brings that same enthusiasm and commitment to her coaching, and I know she will continue to be successful," Weber added.
Richardson returned to her alma mater with big goals for the athletes that occupy her former role on the track.
"Having competed here as a UK athlete, I feel it gives me a little edge," Richardson said. "Now that I am on the other side, it is easier to understand the concerns of your athletes. I can view it from a coach's point of view as well as an athlete's point of view. After all, it hasn't been that long since I was one of them."
Richardson, 28, is single and resides in Lexington.