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Boys Basketball: Pat Richardson steps down as Brother Rice coach

PRichardshas stepped down as Brother Rice basketball coach. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media

Pat Richardson has stepped down as Brother Rice basketball coach. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 18, 2013 6:43AM



Pat Richardson, who compiled a 433-232 record in 24 years as Brother Rice’s basketball coach, has resigned, effective immediately. He will remain at the school as a social studies teacher.

“I just don’t have the energy anymore,” said Richardson, a 1978 Marist graduate. “I’ve always felt like I worked very hard and dedicated a lot of time to the program. In talking to other coaches who have retired, they told me that I’d know when it was time. It’s time.”

What sealed the deal for Richardson was an annual trip with friends earlier this month to the NCAA Final Four in Atlanta.

The trip, which he’s made since 1994, always has been a way for Richardson to recharge his batteries.

This time, though, the excitement of the Final Four failed to reignite his desire to coach.

“Usually, it (Final Four) gets me pumped up and excited to coach,” Richardson said. “This time I didn’t have that same feeling. It was getting harder and harder to do all of the things you need to do as head coach.”

The Crusaders finished 20-6 in 2012-13, marking Richardson’s 11th 20-win season at the school. However, the season ended abruptly with a Class 4A regional semifinal loss to DuSable.

Richardson’s tenure, which began in 1989, got off to a rough start. In his first three seasons his teams went 3-22, 6-18 and 12-13.

However, the Crusaders finished above .500 in 12 of the following 13 seasons (1992 through 2004), registering a 292-86 record during that span. The run — and arguably Richardson’s career — was highlighted by a Class AA state finals appearance in the 2004-05 season, when Rice was 26-5.

The Crusaders, though, dropped a 68-47 decision to eventual state champion Glenbrook North in the quarterfinals.

It marked Rice’s only appearance downstate under Richardson.

“We’ve had some great wins,” Richardson said. “Four sectionals, getting downstate, beating Derrick Rose and Simeon, beating Antoine Walker and Mount Carmel. The ‘Crusader Crazies’ storming the court. I’m so grateful for all the friendships.”

And the regrets?

“Every game we’ve lost I look back and think what I could have done differently,” he said. “I wish we could have replayed all of those losses. The good times far outweigh any tough times.”

Richardson, 52, was asked if this was a resignation or a retirement.

“Good question,” he said. “Right now I have no plans to coach. One thing I’d like to do is private instruction, shooting lessons, some clinics and camps. Stay involved in basketball. I don’t know if I’ll ever coach again. I just know right now it’s time for a change for everybody.

“I’m extremely grateful to all the players and coaches, and lucky to have the support of the administration. I’m extremely grateful for the support of (athletic director) Phil Cahil, (principal) Jim Antos and (president) Kevin Burns. The ‘Crusader Crazies’ always made it fun and seem really important.”

Burns was sad to see Richardson go, but did provide a silver lining.

“We’re sorry to see Pat go,” Burns said. “He’s done a phenomenal job. He never short-changed our kids. He was as intense and demanding on himself as he was on the kids. He’s been great for the game of high school basketball and he’s put so much time in to preparing the kids every game. But I’m always happy to see a guy who has given so much to the kids to be able to walk away on his own. I’d like to see him sit back and enjoy life.”

Two possible successors are current Rice assistant coach Dave Wills and Rice graduate Rick Harrigan, who’s an assistant coach at Augustana College.

“We’d like to get the process started and completed as soon as possible,” Burns said. “But we want the absolute best person for the job.”



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