“Mr. Orange and Blue” retires from University of Florida

Author: Morgan Frances
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, FLa. – If you have been to a University of Florida Gator home football game, you know the “orange and blue” cheer. However, maybe didn’t know much about the guy who started it all. Richard Johnston is an attorney in Fort Myers, but for the past 31 years he travels to every UF home game in Gainesville for one reason.

“They asked me back in 1984,” he said, “just this opportunity to fire up the crowd. I thought it was going to, maybe, be a year or two job and I would be done, but one year led to another and all of a sudden I look back and it’s been 31 years,” Johnston said.

Johnston (known as Mr. Orange and Blue) was a cheerleader at UF, so the chants came natural to him. Something he’s never become accustomed to, however, is that feeling he gets when he walks into the stadium.

“It’s a special place, The Swamp,” he said. “I can’t tell you about how electric it is when you get in the pregame and the crowd really is involved. Especially on a key SEC match up.”

Being a Gator fan hasn’t always been easy.

“I’m married to a lovely woman who went to school out west, FSU, so were a house divided in that,” he jokingly said.

Where else could one get away with wearing an orange crock shoe on one foot and a blue one on the other? This week, at the team’s final SEC game of the season, Johnston has decided he’s going to pass the microphone back into the hands of a student – where, he says, it belongs.

“To get to have that moment in the middle of 90,000 people, just those few moments, you get to hold them in the palm of your hand for a second. Maybe toss them up in the air and get them really pumped up; that is something and it is exciting,” he said.

While, as of Saturday, he will no longer hold the title as “Mr. Orange and Blue,” he said he will still attend Florida Gator football games.

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