Celebration for former U of M athletes next month

The Committee for the History of African American Contributions to the University of Minnesota will be celebrating their fifth bi-annual reunion next month.

The event, which is to honor African American former student athletes (AA-SA), will be held Thursday, September 14 and Saturday, September 16, 2017.

Former Gophers Johnathan Richmond (2000-2004) and Crystal Flint (1989-94) took time to reflect on their time at the U of M.

Richmond is currently Student Management Specialist at Maple Grove Senior High School. Flint is an educator and girls’ basketball coach at Minneapolis North High School.

Johnathan Richmond

Johnathan Richmond (Courtesy of Johnathan Richmond)

Prep Career: Starred in football as cornerback, safety and running back — earning All-Conference and team MVP honors his senior year — at Page High School in Greensboro, North Carolina.

How he ended up at the U of M    

“I was offered a full scholarship to NC State University, but my grades became a major issue. I had the test scores, but my GPA wasn’t high enough for me to accept a scholarship and attend NC State.

“I did not graduate from high school due to coming up one credit short, which led me to attend Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham, NC. While attending Mount Zion Christian Academy, the coaches at NC State were fired. I got my former high school coaches to send my game film to college coaches.

“The thought of playing for a Division 1 program excited me, along with the caliber of the conference I would be playing in, [making] Minnesota the easy choice.”

Reflecting on what he cherished during his time U of M

“Being a student-athlete on the football team allows me to be part of a lifelong brotherhood that no one can take away from me.”

On attending past African American Student Athlete reunions

“It has given me and others like me the opportunity to meet other former African American athletes who have actually paved the way for me and future Gophers.”

Crystal Flint  

Crystal Flint (Courtesy of Crystal Flint)

Prep Career: Starred at South Boston High School l where she was a four-time All City performer, team captain all four years, and a member of the Boston Globe’s All Metro team.

How she ended up at the U of M    

“LaRue Fields was a big influence [Black head coach], her assistants Clemette Haskins and Karen Truske recruited me like crazy. Coach Fields told me my opportunities after my playing days were over would be greater than while I played here, and that proved to be true — almost 30 years later I am still here.  I also had an opportunity to play right away. We were the bottom of the Big Ten.”

Reflecting what she cherished during her time U of M

“The friendships I gained along the way. Also being a part of the first team to go to the NCAA tournament was truly a highlight. The 1994 team was special [CarolAnn Schudlick, Shannon Loeblein, Cara Pearson, Nikki Coates, Mary Klotzbeecher] and others were a special group…[they are] my close friends to this day.”

On attending past African American Student Athlete reunions

“They have been great opportunities to get together with other former Gophers from all sports and reminisce and support current scholar athletes. We have a great legacy that needs to be celebrated and this venue affords us that opportunity.

“Thank you to Linda Roberts and her committee who work tirelessly to make this happen on a continuous basis. We need to come out and show our appreciation for their efforts. I always have a great time and feel proud to have been a Golden Gopher.”


Those interested in attending can register for the AA-SA reunion at facebook.com/aasareunionuofm. The deadline is Thursday, August 31.


Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to mmcdonald@spokesman-recorder.com.