The job he's been waiting for: Portage's Richards excited for the chance to be a head coach again
When Roy Richards resigned as head coach under the cloud of personal circumstances at Hammond Morton in 2015, the former Michigan City assistant had his doubts that a school would ever take a chance on him to work in that capacity again.
Those concerns were reinforced over the last seven years as job inquiries led to more disappointments, and Richards soldiered on as Phil Mason's right hand man with the Wolves.
When Mason recently left to become head coach at Griffith, the door seemed to open for Richards to take over at Michigan City.
Instead, it was Portage that put its faith in Richards to run its program, seemingly bringing a career in coaching full circle.
"When I told (Michigan City) it looks like I'm going to get the Portage job, they said congratulations," Richards said Wednesday, when he was formally introduced.
Richards was never told he wouldn't get the job there, but he could read the proverbial handwriting on the wall with the response.
"As the saying goes, it's nice to go where you're celebrated, not where you're just tolerated," Richards said. "Maybe they thought the regime had run its course, that it was time for something different. I felt pretty good that it would continue. If they had said, don't go, it would have been really tough, then after visiting with the people at Portage, the committee they had, I can't even think of it turning out any other way. I've been coaching 33 years. How many coaches get what's probably their best opportunity in their 34th year?"
Portage hasn't won more than six games since 2004, but Richards, who is 141-91 in 21 years at Morton (16) and East Chicago Central (five), knows coaching, above all, is about people and relationships, and he likes the feeling he's getting at Portage.
"It only took a few visits to see what an outstanding opportunity this is, talking with people I've never met before," Richards said. "The superintendent texts me saying, I look forward to meeting you. The principal was involved in the interview. He was instrumental in the process, which makes me think these guys are serious about this. I was able to recognize right away they weren't about bringing in a guy to create a different culture, they were reaching out to someone to match their culture, someone they think can maybe match what their expectations are. That was very flattering."
Colin Yarnelle and Matt Ard are among the City assistants who will join Richards at Portage. Darius Coty and David Sisak played for him at Morton, while Tony Klimczak and Sam Daniels will remain from the current Indians staff.
"I can't think of a better way to go to the Duneland than to stay in the Duneland," Richards said. "I've been waiting my whole life for a job like this, being a head coach back at school with a lot of kids, bringing in guys I consider family as assistants, guys that were with me at Morton, Roosevelt and Michigan City. They deserve to be at a place like Portage, to be in charge of some important stuff. I'm pretty excited to have the chance to get this to happen so fast. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Much like at Michigan City, Richards' classroom will be the weight room at Portage.
"That's what I love to do," he said. "I get the chance to see a lot of kids, to get in a little workout. I can't tell you how many great kids I've already met, kids who came and introduced themselves in the weight room, in the locker room. The best part is I'm not supervising anything. I can just put my energy into the kids during the day. I'm closer to home and it gives me more time to spend with my wife. As you get older, you realize how precious that is. I get a chance now to be that guy. I'm looking forward to it. At Morton, I didn't have time for anything or anyone but me. Who wants to be that guy?"
Richards started at Portage on Monday, and expressed his appreciation to both schools for making that happen.
"It showed Portage wasn't messing
Roy Richards was formally introduced as
Portage's head football coach Wednesday.
around, that they wanted to get me in here now," he said. "Michigan City recognized that, that it was an opportunity for a guy who has worked hard, and wish him the best. They gave me a great recommendation. I leave with absolutely zero feelings of anything but admiration, respect for Michigan City, the faculty, administration, kids. It's a great place. I have no reason to feel slighted for anything."
Suffice it to say, Richards is excited to get rolling.
"It's a great situation, the kind of thing that gives me the energy to get out of bed in the morning, not just because it's new, but because it's incredibly challenging," he said. "My wife always has better insight than me, and she sees the potential. Part of me is confident in my abilities and part of me is like, man, I better bring it up. I'm never one to think something won't work. If it doesn't work, I'll have nobody to blame but me."